Mar 1, 2011

Posted in Blog

GOTR Nashville Runs on Love

GOTR Nashville at Snowflake 5k

Dec. 7, 2010 on her 9th birthday Carter Lawrence GOTR Awesome Anajah ran the Snowflake 5k with her Running Buddy Rachel Kemper

March 2011

We often say that GOTR Nashville runs on love; there’s no denying it was the driving force behind the recent campaign to fund a second GOTR program at Carter Lawrence Elementary Magnet.

Spring 2011, we planned to continue 2 full scholarship programs serving 3rd and 4th graders at Title1 (high poverty) schools: 12 girls at Smithson Craighead Academy and 12 at Carter Lawrence Elementary Magnet.  Then 45 Carter Lawrence girls applied this season!  When asked to communicate with our Board of Directors, Carter Lawrence coach Deanna McCarthy (who, like GOTR Founder Molly Barker, is a triathlete and has a Masters Degree in Social work) wrote:

“The Girls on the Run program with its curriculum of healthy living skills, awesome volunteers, and exposure to a healthy fun lifestyle is invaluable in this community. Carter Lawrence  is located in the Edgehill community where opportunities are limited. Many of the families are working hard to survive and don’t have the money and time to provide enrichment opportunities for their children.

The girls are sweet but challenging and as I write this I think I may be crazy for wanting to add another group! But how do I choose who would participate in this life changing program? All last semester girls asked when they could join and 45 requested registration forms even after being told we may only have 2 openings.

I believe we have the potential to influence the girls in many areas that are high risk for their community, such as drug use and teen pregnancy. At Carter Lawrence this morning my day started with a big hug from one of my GOTR girls and the big question ‘when do we start?’ Her mom reported she hadn’t done much since the program ended last season.

We have an ongoing community service project where we visit, feed, and play bingo with the senior citizens in the high rise across the street, and the stories the girls told the residents about what GOTR meant to them inspired me. They spoke of learning to respect themselves and one another, making friends, and exercising. Many said that the race day was the ‘best day of their lives.’ GOTR brings so much positive into their lives. I believe they all walk taller!”

The Board discussed the budgetary constraints of adding another program of 12 girls so close to the start of the spring session, and without missing a beat, agreed to meet the challenge of raising the necessary funds.  BOD Vice-Chair Diane Crosier initiated the appeal.

Chuck Hargrove, the Godfather of the Nashville running community, sent the message further and wider.

In just over a week, a second Monday/Wednesday Carter Lawrence program was funded, thanks to contributions from Bob McDill, Bob and Mary Biber, Joy Day, Beverly Anderson, Deana Hood, Terrie and Joel Hill, Trey Harwell, Shaunelle Bynum, Janet Jernigan, Diane Crosier, Kim Holder, Joanie Abernathy, Diana Bibeau, Paul Wills, Roberta Pettis and Marci Tharan.  Wow.

Predators 5k Waterstop and GOTR Nashville

GOTR Water Stop/Cheer Station at Nashville Predators Fangtastic 5k

But wait, there’s more: the new girls would need shoes.  National sponsor New Balance provides 173 councils with shoe certificates for girls in need, but our total allotment this spring is 8 pair. I wondered if we could collect the girls’ sizes and local retailers might help us with reduced prices?

Fleet Feet Sports owner Christi Beth Adams, longtime supporter and friend, who hosts an annual Diva night to fund scholarships, and generously matches our gift card purchases for coaches and volunteers, responded:

“There are so many ways we can give!! Our time, our resources, our money – with a small business and a new baby, I wish I had enough free time to coach again and even visit all these wonderful schools where GOTR will SURELY change lives. I’ve said it before, but competing on the high school track & cross country teams when I was in the 4th grade has changed my life. I had the support of my parents, siblings, teachers and coaches. How many girls out there don’t have that built in support system??

All that said, let us know how many girls need shoes and Matt and I would like to donate them.  Just think of the stories each of those running shoes could tell a year from now…maybe they’ll take these girls down a healthier, safer path!!”

Diane Crosier expressed our gratitude best:

“It takes just a little passion and enthusiasm to make things work and we all apparently have more than enough.  Again, thanks to everyone.  I hope that everyone has a great day and will stop and think about how you have brought joy and positive influence to the lives of some little girls that you have not even met.”

Never doubt it: Girls on the Run Nashville runs on LOVE.  Thank you for yours.

XXOO

Jennifer

Jennifer Kimball, Girls on the Run Nashville Council Director, was reading Runner’s World one day when she saw a photo of Girls on the Run founder Molly Barker surrounded by a sea of young girls, all jumping in the air with huge grins on their faces and thought to herself, “I want to do that.” And, with the help of many other interested women (and a few good men), she did. In the fall of 2007 Girls on the Run Nashville began with 15 girls at Percy Priest Elementary and now Jennifer is the one surrounded by hundreds of young girls’ happy faces. Jennifer always has a smile for the girls who she says both surprise, inspire her and make her laugh. Her passion, energy, care, determination and love for the girls and the program is truly contagious.