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Girls on the Run tracks self-esteem

SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2012

WENATCHEE – The changes are big, say fifth-grade teachers at Sunnyslope Elementary School.

“One girl – it’s almost like she’s taller; her confidence has grown that much,” said Margaret King.

“Their self-confidence is starting to shine through,” said Rebecca Britt. “Instead of slumped shoulders and staring at the floor, they’re standing up straight with a smile on their faces.”

“Some wanted to be in a corner and not be noticed, but now they’re talking and being part of a group,” said Abby Dalbeck.

Prompting the changes, the teachers say, is the girls’ participation in an after-school program called Girls on the Run. The program began in mid-February at the Sunnyslope school.

Nationally, Girls on the Run began in 1996 in North Carolina as a way to teach girls to have positive body images, handle peer pressure, contribute to their communities and make healthy decisions, said Marlen Mendez, outreach supervisor at Columbia Valley Community Health.

At Sunnyslope, the program runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Earlier this month, the lesson was on emotional health. Led by coach Jane Davis, they talked about how understanding emotions can help the girls have more self-confidence and can help them relate better with others.

The lesson included exercises and running.

All the girls in the Sunnyslope program are in the fifth grade.

“The coaches encourage you to run more and be healthy, and they don’t judge you if you don’t do something right,” said Monica Miranda.

“It gives you a chance to express your feelings about everything,” said Cazzi Noyd. “It’s like a comfortable program where you can pretty much talk about anything.”


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