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Girls on the Run Western MA

Inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident

What is the background of Girls on the Run? Where did it get started? When did it arrive on the local scene?

Girls on the Run was established in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a team of 13 brave girls. The program's growth was remarkable, starting with 26 girls in the next season, then 75, and it continued to expand. In 2000, Girls on the Run International, a 501(c)(3) organization, officially came into existence. Locally, Girls on the Run Western MA, an independent council of Girls on the Run International, was established in 2015. We proudly serve over 1,800 girls annually in grades 3-8 across all four western MA counties, impacting the lives of over 9,000 girls since our inception.

What is the mission behind Girls on the Run?

Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident through a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. The program fosters the development of critical life skills and behaviors such as managing emotions, resolving conflict, showing empathy, and making decisions. Additionally, it encourages an increase in physical activity. The program concludes with participants positively impacting the community through a service project and completing a celebratory 5K.

What are the benefits of Girls on the Run?

Research indicates that the 3rd to 8th grade period is critical for girls, as self-confidence starts to decline by age 9, and 50% of girls aged 10 to 13 experience bullying. Physical activity levels also decrease significantly during this time, placing them at a higher risk for poor health outcomes. Girls on the Run addresses these challenges by empowering girls to recognize and activate their limitless potential. Trained coaches guide small teams of girls through 10 weeks of lessons that promote social-emotional learning alongside physical activity. The positive impact of the program is evident to families and schools.

It appears that Girls on the Run has been growing. Tell us about that.

Since 2015, Girls on the Run Western MA has experienced consistent growth across all four western MA counties. In the past fall, we had 720 participants at 52 sites with 220 volunteer coaches. This spring, we anticipate more than 80 teams and 300 volunteer coaches. The end-of-season 5K event brings together participants, coaches, run buddies, and families, drawing a crowd of over 3,000 people. We remain committed to serving the whole community, providing financial aid to 65% of our participants and not turning anyone away for financial need.

How can we get involved in Girls on the Run?

We rely on the support of over 500 volunteers annually to deliver our programs. Volunteers can serve as coaches, Board Members, or assist during our 5K events. Financial support and in-kind donations from individuals and businesses in the communities we serve are crucial. Donations contribute to financial aid, running shoes for participants in need, coach training, curriculum materials, snacks, t-shirts, and make our 5K events possible. To learn more about participating in Girls on the Run, volunteering, or supporting the organization, visit