I have been eager for several years to find a volunteer program that really speaks to me, and one where I can start making a difference in something that has lasting positive returns within the community, something that would change the way society thinks, even if it was one person or child at at time. I hold it as no secret that I embrace conservative values; I believe in the power of hard work, and that anyone is capable of becoming and building anything they set their mind to. That said, I find it difficult sometimes to simply offer a hand-out, without offering a more permanent way of helping someone help themselves, which was difficult when trying to find a way to do some good in the world. It was then that I decided I needed to find a mentor program, instead of blindly donating or offering time.
It was then that I came across Girls on the Run, through the suggestion of a few dear friends who had been participating in the program for quite some time in another state. Living an active lifestyle, I was immediately drawn to it, and it was a extra bonus that it was a mentor program for young girls! There’s nothing more amazing than the minds and spirits of little girls. Sometimes I wish I still was one. Actually, I take that back- I’m pretty sure I am still secretly 5. Just with a bigger vocabulary… and ninja skills.
My early years in school were definitely not the easiest; I struggled to find my voice and image, finding it hard to accept my own shortfalls or weaknesses, especially when my classmates didn’t. I found it hard to accept my exterior image at that age, and was ashamed to think that such things defined me as a person to others. The more those around me would define me that way, the more I would define myself by the same things. I would have given the world to have a program like this when I was in elementary school, as I believe it would have helped me find my voice and strength at a much younger age, and let go of the negativity that I struggled with until I entered middle school. Y’all are probably like, “ummm… Seriously?” Yes. My quick wit and stinging sarcasm are as much of a defining characteristic as my chemical addiction to yoga pants. But hey, I wasn’t always such a saucy tart.
As a coach for Girls on the Run, I get the honor of spending a little over an hour twice a week with roughly 15 young girls between 3rd grade and 5th grade, in a public school here in the city. Some come from similar situations, or have other tougher personal/societal struggles, and look to us to help them build confidence in themselves and use it to do great things in the world around them. As someone who has been there, been teased, pushed to the limits of emotional distress, and also been through the stresses of military training and service, I could think of no better way to use and share my skills for the greater good. If I can help even one girl build a lasting foundation for the rest of her life, and become a role model for her peers, I will be completely fulfilled. I start Monday, and I cannot be more excited.
I urge any of you amazing young women out there to take a look at this program, and see if it’s offered in your area. If its not, they gladly welcome opening new chapters. Organizations like this is what we need more of in this world. Check out this awesome video! So.Cute.So.Awesome.