SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Just because the pandemic is creating additional barriers for non-profits doesn’t mean the children they serve are any less in need.
Every year, Girls on the Run provides young women with new friendships, self confidence, and personal growth. Executive Director of the Coastal Georgia and Lowcountry chapter, Leah Kessler, says even though the season will be a little shorter due to the pandemic, girls will still learn important lessons.
“They learn about self confidence and they learn about body positivity,” Kessler said. “They also learn about being intentional with their emotions and responses. We teach them about cyber safety, online bullying.”
Families will have a virtual option this year. That will include lessons with coaches and personal time over a remote platform.
“Every girl, they will get a journal that she can take home with her, and that way they can seamlessly transition to a virtual platform,” Kessler said.
That virtual option means that girls can participate this year even if their school is not partnering with Girls on the Run, unlike previous years. If they choose to attend in person, that will look a little different too.
“Each team that meets in person will only have 12 or less girls,” Kessler said. “And that’s just to make sure that we can make sure that they have social distancing.”
The fall program will lead up to a celebratory 5K run. This year, Girls on the Run is partnering with the Publix Savannah Women’s 5K. As of right now, that is scheduled for November 21.
In times like these, those involved with the program believe this experience is even more important to local girls.
“From a mental health aspect, it will help to uplift the girls, because right now everybody’s a little bit confined,” former Girls on the Run coach Jennifer Goodwin said.
“We still want to provide a safe space for our girls to be able to engage each other and lift each other up,” Kessler said.
If you’re interested in enrolling your daughter in the program, sign-up starts August 17. Registration costs $95, but scholarships are available. The condensed season begins September 1.