In 2008, I moved to Washington DC to work on my master's degree in Medieval History and started training for my first marathon. With the master's degree and 6 marathons under my belt, I'm finishing my doctoral dissertation, "The Voice of Mary" at the Catholic University of America.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Finding the light inside: Girls on the Run
According to the Dove campaign on women and self-esteem, 7 in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members. How terrible is that? And girls with low self-esteem are at higher risk for a litany of issues, including depression, negative activities (like cutting, disordered eating), and so much more. And with facts like that, coupled with media barraging young girls with unreasonable standards of what it means to be beautiful, what hope is there? I have a young cousin who is going to be dealing with this (she's 10), my best friend has 2 baby girls...what are they up against?
What if every girl knew that she had a powerful light in her? And the belief that she can achieve anything?
I am very excited to be joining Girls on the Run (GOTR) this fall as a coach for one of the local teams. The above question comes from GOTR's training program, which I've just begun. I am so looking forward to working with a group of young girls this fall, culminating with a 5k in December. I've wanted to get into some sort of coaching for a while, and this seems like the perfect opportunity. Running has given me so much. So much. Running has given me confidence and peace of mind. The gift of running has given me the clarity and focus to accomplish what I've done so far as an adult. And while I did do some running in middle school and in 9th grade, there was never a coaching environment that really encouraged us in ways that stretched beyond the cross-country season.
When I worked for the Center for Talented Youth, I served as a quasi-chaperone for one of our talented students - she wasn't just smart, but a gifted runner. We would go out a few times a week early in the morning, and there was something about those shared moments that really resonated with me. And my work with CTY as a whole, working with gifted children, made me more passionate about serving to better the development of children, promoting both academic and social experiences.
I served as a "run buddy" for the GOTR 5k a few years ago and found it to be a really enjoyable experience. I told myself that once my life felt more in order, I would return to the program as a coach. This semester, my only objective is to write. But that's not all anyone can do - you need something going on to balance that out. I think going from the interior nature of writing solo, to a group of excited young girls who are eager to accomplish something - that is going to be some kind of magic.
WE BELIEVE THAT EVERY GIRL CAN EMBRACE WHO SHE IS, CAN DEFINE WHO SHE WANTS TO BE, CAN RISE TO ANY CHALLENGE, CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. CAN.