A group of Sandshore girls recently finished a non-competitive 5K run which culminated Girls on the Run, a national program for intermediate grade elementary girls that encourages positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development.

The students met Tuesdays and Thursdays afterschool from April to early June for classes that were part character education and part exercise. Taught by Sandshore teachers Joanne Bosco, Kelly Rogalsky, and Kit Thompson, each session began with a lesson or activity about a life skill such as building self-esteem, developing a healthy body image, managing conflict, or working as a team. It ended with running laps outside or in the gymnasium.

Core components of GOTR include understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork, and understanding how we connect with and shape the world. During the program, students share their own life experiences; that sharing helps the girls see that they all have common concerns and helps them build new friendships. 

“The girls always begin the program nervous and unsure what to expect,” said Ms. Rogalsky, team leader. “As the season goes on, they start to open up and their personalities really shine through. GOTR gives the students an opportunity to become more comfortable in their own skin, as well as make friends in other grade levels. In the two years I have done the program, I can really see the confidence boost that it gives each girl.”

The 5K run was held in Florham Park and brought together all the girls in the area who participated in GOTR during the spring. Crossing the finish line is a defining moment that allows the girls to experience the satisfaction of a major accomplishment and helps underscore the importance of fitness and healthy choices.

For more info on Girls on the Run, go to: https://www.girlsontherun.org

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