Every September and February is an exciting time for our girls at Van Buren; that’s because it’s finally time to start Girls on the Run again. Girls on the Run is an international girl empowerment running program. Throughout the 10 week season 3rd-5th grade girls come twice a week to practice not only running but also life skills that help them tackle many of the problems that they face throughout the day. I have been fortunate enough to be able to coach for 3 seasons and I cannot wait to start my fourth season coaching in a couple weeks!

I love showing up to practice and seeing our Van Buren team excited and motivated. It is more than just running for both coaches and girls. It is the creation of a support system that will be there throughout our whole season. Whether you run 8 laps around the Van Buren trail in a practice or you walk 3, everyone who shows up to practice is there for you no matter what. As a coach I teach lessons on healthy living, inner positivity, cooperation and celebrating diversity; but it is not just the girls who are learning about all those topics. As a coach I have learned just as much as the girls.

Last season I saw so much growth in my team. We went from barely knowing each other to all becoming so close, and that closeness has continued into the off season. We progressed in our running as well. We went from interval running to running a whole 5K without stopping. I am so proud to be a Girls on the Run coach and I cannot wait to see what the Spring season brings!

– Claire Stevens, Van Buren Site Coordinator