Girls on the Run coach and girl smiling while hugging.

Girls on the Run’s virtual breakfast fundraiser

In one of the most critical developmental times for young girls between 8 and 12 years old, building and maintaining self-confidence can be one of the greatest challenges. Thankfully, organizations like the Richmond chapter of Girls on the Run exist to empower the next generation of strong female leaders.

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a nonprofit providing inclusive, positive spaces for girls in third to-eighth grade. Not to be fooled by the name, this is not your average afterschool workout group. It’s so much more. GOTR Greater Richmond helps local youth dismantle age-old gender norms by strengthening self-esteem and developing both mental and physical capabilities.

“For girls, confidence peaks around age nine and decreases throughout adolescence 3.5 times the rate of boys,” said Board of Directors member Dori McGuire. “Physical activity also starts to decline at age 10 for girls, continuing to decrease throughout adolescence.”

Although COVID-19 brought an abrupt end to many activities that generated interaction with one another, GOTR Greater Richmond prioritized pivoting to a multi-level approach with take-home assignments and socially distanced events. Over the course of the shutdown, it became stunningly clear just how important it is for young girls to have an outlet that encourages healthy friendships and promotes leadership and other critical life skills. It was able to serve more than 360 girls during the heart of the pandemic alone, and more than 1,600 since its inception in 2013.

During the 10-week program, participants learn conflict resolution, build confidence and understand intentional decision making. They are taught the value of cooperation and compassion, learning to work together and support one another as they take on challenges. Ultimately, GOTR inspires youth to recognize their limitless potential, regardless of society’s predetermined expectations of who a girl “should” be.

Coming up on Oct. 15from 8:30-9:30 a.m., Girls on the Run Greater Richmond will host its fourth annual “Rise & ShineIN’” breakfast fundraiser. This important event raises money for scholarships, staff to help the girls and the materials needed for lessons and events like the 5K run held at the end of every program.

However, this year’s Rise & ShineIN’ event has a fun twist: $50 deluxe raffle tickets and $25 mystery boxes have been added to the fundraiser as a special bonus to those helping to make a difference for local youth.

To break down what your donation means to GOTR Greater Richmond, think about it this way:

  • a $35 donation allows a girl to receive three lessons in character building.
  • A $90 donation ensures nine lessons in developing social and emotional intelligence.
  • A $180 donation sponsors a girl’s entire experience at GOTR.

Currently, scholarship funds enable more than 60% of girls to participate, showcasing the direct impact fundraisers have. Accessibility for all who wish to be a part of a program dedicated to promoting self-esteem, competence and character with a uniquely creative physical component, is of utmost importance to the leaders of GOTR.

The “Rise & ShineIN’’ fundraiser will be held virtually for the second year in a row because of the pandemic. It will feature remarks from GOTR Alumna and Miss Henrico USA, Rebekah Greene. Keynote speakers Ashley Williams of BareSOUL Yoga & Wellness and Suzanne Burns of Humble Haven Yoga will take part in a conversation on being female business owners.

“Our keynote speakers will highlight their experiences as female entrepreneurs and small business owners in Richmond, Va. working together in the community and leaning on one another to overcome adversity,” said event chair Callie Verderosa. “In our world today, we sometimes see women competing with one another. However, Ashley and Suzanne live out Girls on the Run values and showcase what it means to work together and support one another, not just during the pandemic, but in all aspects of their personal and professional lives.”

GOTR Greater Richmond is eager to share its cause with the community and foster greater awareness on the topic. If you aren’t able to attend the fundraiser, you can still participate by purchasing raffle tickets or donating online. Learn more about GOTR by registering for its free online presentations.

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