Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Program empowers girls through running

Wednesday November 18, 2015 4:16 PM

A group of students at Pointview Elementary School trained for a 5K race while learning about empowerment through the new Girls on the Run club.

School secretary Molly Bussard is one of the club leaders.

"We want to empower and strengthen as many girls as possible. It's a great program for all girls," she said. "I wish I had something like this growing up."

Girls on the Run is a national nonprofit program for girls in grades 3-8. The mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a curriculum that creatively integrates running.

Participants from Girls on the Run clubs across central Ohio participated in a 5K at Columbus Commons in downtown Columbus on Saturday, Nov. 14.

The club at Pointview started last year, after Bussard's daughter was involved in the club at Alcott Elementary School.

"When she did that 5K at the end, I was so impressed. I didn't know she was capable of that," she said. "I thought to myself, this is a chance to start this great club at Pointview so I coordinated with other teachers and it continues to grow."

Eleven girls participated last year. The same number took part this year.

Bussard runs the club with Pointview teacher Amanda Oakes.

"As a runner myself, I enjoy helping the girls get excited about being active and feeling healthy," Oakes said.

But it's not all about the race at the end.

"We finish up the season with a community impact project, so that the girls can experience helping and giving back to others. Last season, we decorated flower pots and delivered them to a local nursing home," Oakes said.

This year, they will assemble care packages for female military service members.

The girls also explore issues such as bullying, handling emotions and what real beauty looks like.

For example, in one of the discussions about handling gossip, the girls played the classic "Telephone" game and learned that words and facts often get misinterpreted each time they're told.

The girls often go running in Huber Village Park.

"It's not a competition so everyone goes at their own pace," Bussard said. "It's all about doing your best."

http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/westerville/news/2015/11/17/program-empowers-girls-through-running.html