Why I Love Girls on the Run

By: Carli Franks

I have been a member of the Girls on the Run of the Rockies Associate Board for 3 years now and, WOW, I just love the work they do.

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is an international organization that has built a transformational, positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade. They teach life skills through interactive lessons and running games, and the program culminates with the girls completing a celebratory 5k running event. The goal of the program is to teach girls critical life skills like leadership and empathy and to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.

Carli serving as a Running Buddy

Each year, Denver-based Girls on the Run of the Rockies serves over 5,000 girls at 250 schools along the Front Range in Colorado. Over 60% of program participants are at-risk and in need of scholarships to be able to participate in the program. So, the Associate Board helps raise money to provide assistance (such as program registration fees, running shoes, and more) to ensure that every girl who wants to participate can do so!

I’ve been fortunate to get to see the impact of this wonderful organization by meeting girls in the program and by serving as a “Running Buddy” volunteer at the final 5K events to run alongside and cheer on a girl in the program as they run what is often their first ever 5k!

As an avid runner who often uses running as stress relief, I can easily see the value of instilling a love of running into young girls. But beyond that, what I love most about the program is the lifelong skills they teach young girls, at an age that can be really hard. By teaching middle school girls skills and strategies for building self-confidence, emotional intelligence, resiliency and so much more, this program truly helps set them up to reach their full potential.

I even love how the values and teachings of the program align so closely with PAIRIN’s work in developing soft skills to help each individual be the best version of themselves. And being able to use my skills in event planning and fundraising to ensure all girls get an equal chance to grow and learn in this program is something I find great joy in. I’m so thankful to have found this wonderful Colorado non-profit and to serve on their young professionals’ board.