Volunteering and giving back is always on trend.  If you’re looking for a new way to give back this fall, take a look at Girls on the Run.  I first heard about this great organization when I moved to Cincinnati and was looking to meet new people and get involved in the community.  I asked myself “what do I love and how can I incorporate that into volunteering?”  With one Google search (volunteer/fitness/Cincinnati), I landed on Girls On the Run.  I checked out the local Cincinnati Council’s site and decided I would become a volunteer coach.

In a sentence, Girls on the Run’s mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.  From my experience, it accomplishes that and oh so much more.  On the surface, the program is about teaching girls how to set goals and accomplish them by participating in a multi week program that culminates with them running a 5K.  That’s just a small piece of the program.

Let me tell you, I was a little hesitant to become a coach.  I mean, I had little experience with kids, much less pre-teen girls.  But I knew I needed to step outside of my comfort zone.  And, I’m glad I did.  To see a 3rd grade girl who didn’t want to talk much less run the first day of practice, turn into the girl who would tell you all about her day while jogging with you stride for stride, it’s beyond rewarding.

As an added bonus, I met some great women while volunteering with Girls on the Run.  The people I met have inspiring stories of their own and are the biggest cheerleaders you’ll ever meet.  If you don’t have the time to be a volunteer coach, think about other ways to get involved.  You can raise money by becoming a SoleMate.  The SoleMates program provides adults an opportunity to raise money for Girls on the Run while training for the athletic event of their choice.  You can also participate in a Girls on the Run 5K.  Whether it’s running the 5K, cheering on the participants, or helping make the race happen, seeing a GOTR race is an inspiring experience.

Girls on the Run is a non-profit organization that was founded by Molly Barker in Charlotte, NC in 1996.  Today there are over 190 councils across the US and Canada.  Find a location close to you to learn how you can get involved today.