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Elementary, middle school students learn confidence through running club

November 20, 2018 – During the spring and fall, about 30 elementary and middle school students participate in the Girls on the Run club. The club is in its third year in Brooklyn Center Community Schools and despite its name, offers a lot more to girls than running.

The club meets two times per week for 10 weeks in the fall and spring. Coaches start each meeting by talking to girls about social and emotional issues they might encounter at school and in life. Activities focus on three key parts: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large.

“I like Girls on the Run because it gives me time to express my feelings,” said fifth grade student Arjanae Bryant. “I don’t have to hold in my feelings with teachers, staff or with my friends.”

Girls on the Run at practice

Photo: Girls celebrate crossing the finish line with their running buddy during the final practice 5K run of the fall. 

Bryant is in her third year of participating in Girls on the Run and said the experience has taught her how to avoid gossiping and drama.

“If I were to get into an altercation, I know that instead of getting upset, I can walk away or talk to the staff, the coaches or my friends about my anger, happiness or sadness,” Bryant said.

Laura Edwards, kindergarten teacher at EBE, is one of the elementary club’s coaches. Edwards, along with coaches Karime Morales and Angela Martinez Deleon, work with the girls to learn about self-talk, bullying, internal beauty and more to build their confidence. 

After each lesson, girls practice running for 5K events held each fall and spring. This year, the fall 5K was held at Mall of America on Saturday, November 10 with 3,000 runners and more than 6,000 total participants from all over the Twin Cities metro. Bryant was excited for the 5K race and to show her mom the process and what Girls on the Run is all about. Staff members from EBE accompanied each student participant during the race as “running buddies.”

To any interested girls, Bryant said Girls on the Run is a very welcoming place to meet people.

“If you’re shy or new to the school, people in GOTR will come to you and comfort you and you can meet a lot of friends your age,” Bryant said.

Edwards also said the club is a great place to build friendships and gain more self confidence.

“It's a great community to be a part of and as coaches, we hope the girls continue to use the skills they learn in the future.”