Girls on the Run Works! News | GOTR Michiana

Michiana Joy Corner


Recent Post

Rochelle Day

Rochelle Day

Girls on the Run Works!

GOTR Coach Renee Brown with her daugthers, then part of the program, after completing the end-of-season 5K.

Renee Brown started coaching for Girls on the Run when her oldest daughter, Coley, was eligible as a third grader at Meadows Edge Elementary. One of Renee's best friends approached her and asked Renee to do the program with her.

"I almost never tell her no because it's almost always a good idea when she's talking about it," Renee laughed.

Just like the first day of school for most kids, the first day of coaching brought it's own set of jitters. Renee recalls wanting her first year to go perfectly, to get all the words correct and make sure she was doing the lessons exactly word for word. Her advice to new coaches?

"It is important to be prepared but also make sure you stop and listen to the girls and HEAR what they're saying."

After the first season, the nerves went away and Renee began to realize a few things with each consecutive year she coached for Girls on the Run.

"I realized that the tools actually work when you implement them and, when I was feeling nervous, caught up in not missing the sections (of each lesson), I realized it would lessen the impact part of the program."

Renee began to listen and respond rather than worrying about the next step of each lesson.


Pretty soon, her youngest daughter, Parker, also joined Girls on the Run. Both girls would end up going through all three years of the program. Renee's daughters are now in high school (senior and junior), but she still uses the curriculum at home, on occasion. 

"My daughters were having a conflict one day," Renee began, "and they may roll their eyes but I still ask them as teenagers, 'Did you say I fell.. when you.. because.'"

By trying out the GOTR lessons at home, Renee was impressed that it was working! And because her daughters' friends were also in the program, it was fun and a good way to get to know her daughters' friends.

One of the benefits of coaching for more than one year is watching a girl go through the program and experience that "AHA" moment, particularly around difficult friendships. It was invaluable to have an outloud conversation around how we, as individuals, are all unique and all deserve to be treated a certain way, Renee said. If someone isn't treating you that way, it might be time to take a break from that friendship, Renee added.

"Life often gets more challenging when you head into middle school. Having the tools to navigate friendships and having a sense of self confidence, which GOTR helps foster, makes the next stage a little easier."

Renee remembers one girl, who was generally quiet, speak up during a Girls on the Run practice and realize for herself which friendships were no longer healthy.

"It was pretty amazing. By the end of the season, the formerly quiet girl had made some new friends and blossomed."

Renee shares that it's such an asset to have experience going into coaching year after year because it gets easier to relate to and listen to the girls.

"There's this level of trust that you gain that I really respected," she said.

One season, Renee had a girl she had been coaching year after year, who seemed "off" one day. The girl finally confided to Renee that her parents had just shared they were getting a divorce, and they were able to talk about the girl's feelings and how to handle the situation. Renee felt honored that the GOTR participant felt safe to share something hard that she was going through. 

"These are tools that I wished I had when I was a girl ... and my childhood was good! But, nobody ever told me that when I was younger, if girls were being mean who supposedly were my friends ... I didn't know I could choose my friends."

Renee Brown has been a Girls on the Run Coach for nine years. If her story has inspired you, consider registering to coach with us this season. Visit our coach page to learn more and register today!

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 to Rochelle via email. Let's share your story!


Renee Brown posing with her Girls on the Run team during the spring 2022 season.

Share this Post!

About Council

We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Non-profit girl empowerment after-school program for girls.

Girls on the Run International Post