How Girls on the Run Helps a Girl Find Her Voice
When girls are navigating the complex and challenging pathways of adolescence, they are faced with many opportunities to refine their own values. Girls are learning what kind of people they are, and what kind of women they want to be when they grow up. Throughout these formative years, they are witnessing countless acts of kindness and empathy, but also many examples of behavior that may challenge their personal ideals.
Focus on Self, Others, and Community: A Key Component of our Curriculum
The Girls on the Run curriculum addresses various personal challenges the girls may face in their lives, such as bullying, gossiping, maintaining boundaries, and having successful interpersonal relationships. As the girls proceed through the program, the focus shifts from individual concerns to building positive relationships, and eventually how to be productive members of the larger community. Throughout this process, the girls have a unique opportunity to crystallize their own values and to transform those values into support for others.
Standing Up for Ourselves and Others: A GOTR Core Value
At Girls on the Run, one of our core values is Stand Up For Ourselves and Others. The program teaches girls to use their voices to stand up for what they believe in, and advocate for others who may be vulnerable or need additional support.
We’ve had an opportunity to see this core value at work in the worldwide community recently. The Women’s March on Washington on January 21 was an historic opportunity for girls to see the real impact that people can have when they stand up for what they believe in, and support each other in creating change. The collective energy and collaborative spirit was seen and felt all across the world, as women and men gathered together to remind the government that womens’ voices are important and to protest government actions that do not reflect their personal values -- that all people, regardless of gender, race, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or nation of birth deserve basic human rights.
In this address at the Fourth Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995, Hillary Clinton made a powerful statement about the necessity of recognizing the rights of women as equal to the inherent rights of all individuals:
It is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights. Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all. And among those rights are the right to speak freely and the right to be heard.
It is clear that these words are as relevant today as they were 22 years ago. Recent events have given all of us an opportunity to remember our voices, remember our values, and remember to speak up when we witness injustice in the world.
GOTR’s Goal: Building Girl Power
As much as ever before, girls need support and a firm foundation to face the challenges they will face as they grow and become productive members of society. Programs like Girls on the Run empower young women to develop their own voice and not be afraid to use it. As far as we’ve come, we still have some work to do.