Organization aimed at empowering young girls hosting 5K

The LSU women’s basketball and gymnastics teams have accomplished big things this season. A local nonprofit aims at developing the confidence of young girls to help them strive to be champions not only in the field of play but off.

Girls on the Run is for girls in grades 3-5 and helps them build confidence, work on individual strengths, and learn life skills. The girls meet two times a week for two and a half months, where they learn to work as a team and grow to be confident.

There is a spring and fall 10-week season and the girls can choose to participate in one or both of the seasons. The girls meet two times per week for 90 minutes.

Girls on the Run serves 16 parishes in South Louisiana.

The program ends with the girls completing a 5k with a running buddy. The Girls on the Run 5K also serves as the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Carley Fuller, the Baton executive director for Girls on the Run, said roughly 300 girls who complete the 10-week life skills curriculum with the help of their mentors will participate in the 5k.

“We have the 5K to give them that tangible goal of working toward and accomplishing something,” Fuller said. “When they show up for 5k day they are so excited. They’re not only with their team, but they’re with teams from across the region, so they realize that they’re a part of something much bigger than themselves, which is really cool to see.”

Anyone is allowed to participate in the 5k. The run is scheduled for May 6.

“We know through national research that girls starting at age nine, which is around third grade, their confidence starts to decline and so does their physical activity levels, their perception of academic ability, and then by age 10, the research shows that 50 percent of girls are experiencing bullying,” Fuller said. “That is why we start in the third grade to try and combat those statistics from the get-go and then it gets deeper by the time they get to middle school. That’s something we’re working on expanding to make sure that middle school girls have opportunities.”

Proceeds from the event support Girls on the Run South Louisiana and its programming throughout the region. To register or volunteer for the event. visit: www.girlsontherunsola.org/5K. Registration is $25 and includes a t-shirt, 5K medal, and participation on the 5K course. Registration is $35 the day of the run.

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