PORTLAND, Oreg. (KOIN) — Girls on the Run Portland Metro is lacing up for its spring season. Amid the pandemic, the non-profit is offering both in-person and virtual programming.
Girls on the Run inspires 3rd through 8th-grade girls to be “joyful, healthy and confident by using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running.”
“It’s a great activity to make new friends and just exercise and play outside,” 10-year-old Rowan Leonard said.
“It’s a really great experience and there’s a really good connected community. It’s a lot of fun,” 11-year-old Gigi Greenstadt added.
Leonard and Greenstadt participated in Girls on the Run last fall. Both say they were excited to be able to see their friends again and are already looking forward to returning for the upcoming season.
Executive director for the Portland Metro chapter, Mavia Haight said Girls on the Run’s programming focuses on children’s social-emotional health, which during the pandemic is more important than ever.
“What we’re hearing from youth right now is that they are experiencing record levels of mental health issues and emotional trauma and we offer them a safe space they can process that. It’s really important to be here for them,” Haight said. “And we know our program has a lasting impact on girls’ confidence, their connection to others, and just their sense of how they can take care of their whole self.”
This spring the non-profit is launching two programs: A GOTR camp during Oregon’s spring break and an 8-week program that’ll meet twice a week with an end-of-the-season 5k.
Like so many other community organizations, Girls on the Run had to reimagine its programming after COVID-19 hit. Some of the enhanced safety modifications made include moving practices from school to local parks, modifying all activities for physical distancing, smaller teams, and wearing a mask.
Haight says while the landscape of the programs may look different, the organization is committed to providing a safe space for girls in Portland.
“We just feel like it’s our responsibility to use every tool in our toolbox to serve girls in the local region,” Haight added.
With the help of community donations, Girls on the Run will also be offering financial assistance to families in need. Registration for the spring season is now open. To register, click here.