Running changes lives one step at a time

2013-02-22T00:00:00Z Running changes lives one step at a timeBy Times Staff
February 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

HAMMOND | Hammond elementary schools are beginning nominations and training for Girls on The Run, the non-competitive 5k-marathon event which will take place May 11.

Girls on the Run is a character development program for girls in grades 3 to 8, that focuses on developing self-esteem and confidence through exercise.

Girls on the Run is not your typical race. Contestants do not receive a trophy and there is not even a set time limit. Whether the participants run, walk, hop, jump or crawl to the finish line, everyone is a true winner.

The reward is the confidence boost the young girls retain after training for an obstacle and overcoming the challenge. Through the program the girls are taught to withstand hardships and to conquer not only the struggle of the marathon, but also the trials they may encounter in their own lives.

Hammond offers the program in the fall and spring each year.

Mary Rykiel, Morton Elementary School teacher, coordinated the fall program.

Every fall and spring the program opens by having teachers nominate girls they believe would benefit from the character development the program offers. After the girls are nominated, they meet two times per week for 90 minutes for training and workshops, which teach the importance of confidence and positive self-image. Lessons will also focus of good decision making, cooperation and standing up for beliefs.

"The program was brought to my attention by another co-worker, and after reviewing the details of it, I fell in love with it and knew that it would benefit the girls here at Morton Elementary School," said Rykiel.

Past runs have been held at Crichfield Elementary School in La Porte and Wicker Park in Highland. Heather Wieser is this year's spring coach for the run that will be held at Wicker Park once again this spring.

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