Girls on the Run club encourages positivity among Hempfield elementary students |
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Megan Tomasic

A new running club at Hempfield’s Stanwood Elementary School is empowering girls and teaching them their potential.

Girls on the Run, a club for girls in third through fifth grade, is part of a nonprofit organization started in Charlotte, N.C., in 1996. The program quickly spread across the country, hosting more than 350 end-of-season 5K events with almost 100,000 volunteers.

Over the course of three months, nine Stanwood Elementary School girls will train for the May 19 race at Hartwood Acres Park in Allegheny County.

Wendy Milne, Stanwood art teacher and Girls on the Run coach, said the group meets Mondays and Wednesdays, with the girls increasing the amount of time they run at each practice.

To build positivity between the girls, they are encouraged to tell each other positive sayings while running.

“They’re really starting to bond together with just two lessons,” said Milne, noting the training started this week.

Already at West Point Elementary School, Girls on the Run was started at Stanwood by first-grade teacher Maria Shaffo. An avid runner who competes in marathons, Shaffo encouraged other teachers to start running and together they formed the club.

Reading teacher Emily Holsinger, a former secretary, Milne and Shaffo work together to run the club.

“We decided to share that passion we had for running with the girls,” Milne said.

Registration for the May run is not yet open, but the race is slated to start at 9 a.m. Those interested in volunteering at the run can register online at Detail#show-volunteer.

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