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A Journey Beyond Running

How Girls on the Run is unlocking power and potential

In a world where girls often confront longstanding gender stereotypes and societal obstacles, Girls on the Run offers a transformative journey through its dedication to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.

Created in 1996, the organization has touched over 2 million lives by inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. But the nonprofit goes beyond running; it instills confidence, kindness, and essential life skills in girls. 

That is just what attracted Kate McLaughlin to the organization, and now she is the Executive Director in Las Vegas.

“As a recreational runner, I loved how running made me feel like I could handle anything life threw at me, and when a friend mentioned Girls on the Run and what it does, I was completely enthralled,” said McLaughlin. “I volunteered and was hooked.”

McLaughlin continued, “We offer a safe space where girls and gender-expansive youth recognize how amazing they are and learn the tools they need to accomplish big goals. More than academic or mechanical skills that they learn in the classroom, the girls learn to embrace who they are, how to be supportive friends by recognizing emotions as normal, how to stop and think, kick to the curb that negative voice in their head that tells them ‘you aren’t enough,’ and how to persist through good days and bad ones to get closer to your goal.”

McLaughlin encourages locals to get involved, as there are many roles that can truly make a difference.

“Girls need to know that their family, friends, and community have their back. That we want them to be their best selves, to grow up to be healthy, confident, joyful, and strong, and to be the change they want to see in the world,” said McLaughlin. “As they enter adolescence, they face so much pressure to fit in, to be what they think everyone wants them to be. We, as a community, need to help them know that what we want is for them to simply be themselves and to be great at it!”

Girls on the Run has two seasons of their after-school program, Spring and Fall. 

“In addition, we’re launching Camp Girls on the Run, a week-long day camp for girls in 3rd to 5th grade the first two weeks of June 2024,” said McLaughlin. “The camp will offer our curriculum and feature robotics training and finance.”

Every day, McLaughlin gets to be a part of inspiring kids, and in return, she is inspired to be her best self. 

“I know that sounds cheesy, and I’m not always very good at it, but doing what I do is a daily reminder that I am capable of so much and that I should keep on going, even when I’m doing something difficult or unfamiliar, or there is just too much,” said McLaughlin. “I love talking with the girls at practice and seeing them in their tutus, face paint, and unicorn headbands at the 5K. I love getting goofy with them and knowing that when I’m my authentic self with them, they are more comfortable being their authentic selves, too.”

There are multiple avenues for supporting Girls on the Run: sponsor a participant for a season, become a coach, be a sparkle runner, join Team Adelaide, and more; girlsontherunlv.org has everything you need to start your own journey today.

"The look on the faces of the girls crossing the finish line is absolutely magical."

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