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GOTR to empower girls through running, life skills

South Boston News
Some of the coaches for Girls on the Run are, from left, Kristin Zerbato, Cecilie Elliott, Rebekah Slabach and Sarah Gallegos.
SoVaNow.com / September 17, 2020

The South Boston/Halifax County YMCA, a YMCA of South Hampton Roads Family Center, will be sponsoring Girls on the Run this fall.

The eight-week program begins Sept. 28 and will run through Nov. 20.

The Y’s executive director Kristen Zerbato said the program is a great way for girls to elevate their physical fitness and get empowered as well. Zerbato said she struggled with her own weight difficulties as she was growing up and was appreciative to her parents for encouraging her to get up and move around more.

“My parents kind of pushed me into running and I’m grateful for that,” Zerbato said. The director said GOTR run is more than just about girls running. “It’s teaching them about self-worth and body image and how to understand and accept who you are.”

Zerbato also made the point that the coaches/mentors for the program are all volunteer. And she was appreciative of that because she knows the commitment they have to the girls and the program.

One of those volunteers is Sarah Gallegos, who will serve as the lead coach. Gallegos has prior coaching experience with the program. She also said she has an 18-year old daughter that benefited from a program such as GOTR. Gallegos’ daughter played high school sports and is moving on to collegiate sports.

“This is a program that is new to the area,” Gallegos said. “We’re working specifically with girls grade three through five. We’re working with all girls, of all abilities.”

Gallegos explained that it doesn’t matter if you ever ran before or have been running your whole life. “This is something that builds up confidence, builds up a strength of team that really has been something these kids have not been able to have with everything going on in the community right now,” the coach stated.

“It’s a program that I feel really needs to be in this community … for just everyday life. Girls are struggling and I think we need to teach them that their voice is heard, can be heard.”

The curriculum includes three parts: “valuing ourselves, establishing healthy relationships, and understanding how to connect with and shape the world at large.” GOTR lessons focus on building social, emotional and physical skills in girls while encouraging healthy habits for life.

Girls on the Run’s intentional life skills curriculum and trained coaches positively impact girls’ lives by helping them increase their self-confidence, develop healthy relationships and feel good about themselves.

The combination of the research-based curriculum, trained coaches, and a commitment to serve all girls is what sets Girls on the Run apart from other after-school activities.

A recent independent study led by Maureen Weiss, an expert in positive youth development, showed that 97 percent of Girls on the Run participants learned critical life skills including resolving conflict, helping others, and intentional decision-making.

Modifications have been made to the program to adhere to social distance guidelines, minimize exposure, and follow COVID safety policies. The eight-week season will run from Sept. 28-Nov. 20. The group will be meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-7 p.m.

Registration is open now. Fees are based on a sliding scale and scholarships are available.

No one is turned away due to financial reasons.

To Register for Girls on the Run, visit http://www.girlsontheruncenva.org or call 434-528-3767.

For other questions about the program in Halifax, contact Zerbato at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 433-572-8909.



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