"Makenna really took to the supportive aspect of people cheering her on and encouraging her when the running got hard. She fell and skinned her knee during the 5K, but after a band-aid, she got right back up and kept on running!"
That's Emily Budzinski, Big Sister to Makenna who encouraged Makenna and her mom to look into Girls on the Run as a healthy afterschool option. Having spent quite a bit of time with Makenna - Emily and Makenna were matched in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in May 2022 - Emily could see the then 10-year-old sometimes struggled with her own self-esteem (like most girls her age) and body image
When Emily first talked to Makenna about the program, Makenna was hesitant to join because she wasn't too crazy about running. But, as the season progressed, Makenna leaned into the social-emotional lessons and particularly loved the aspects of learning through role play where the GOTR curriculum teaches girls to deal with uncomfortable situations with other peers.
"The lessons were good – they taught us about self-love, self-empowerment, and self-encouragement. We learned how to not be rude back but stand up for yourself. Girls on the Run builds you up to have encouragement in yourself and have inner confidence.” - GOTR Girl Makenna -
Heading into the summer can be sedentary for most but Makenna has actively chosen to start doing workouts at home and making healthier meal choices, Emily said.
"Since the GOTR program, Makenna has become more aware of the importance of staying active. Our hangouts used to typically involve food – going out to eat, getting ice cream, etc. Now Makenna is suggesting more physical activities, and we recently played tennis together!"
When asked what advice she would give to another girl considering participating in the program, Makenna exclaimed, “Girl, go do Girls on the Run!”
Stories like Emily and Makenna's aren't unique. The impact Girls on the Run is having within your community resonates with anyone who's ever had to struggle with self-worth, bullying, standing up to and for others, and the work is never done. It's important to spread the word but, more importantly, to have advocates in the community who can share the importance and impact this program has on all girls who would otherwise not sign up. If Girls on the Run has had an impact on your life - whether as a Coach, Volunteer, or Parent of a participant - please reach out and email our Communications Manager, Rochelle here. Let's share your story!