Operation Backpack and Girls on the Run


Kids on Course supports programs at Harrison and Van Buren, like the Operation Backpack and Girls on the Run.  Operation Backpack is a program that offers nutritious food to students for the weekend.  It is through HACAP food reservoir in Linn County.  Girls on the Run is a running club that helps girls strengthen their emotional, physical, and spiritual health in a fun and safe environment.

There are 20 students in Operation Backpack at Van Buren and 12 at Harrison.  These students are always excited about receiving their food backpack for the weekends.  When I go to get the students, they have a huge smile and ask what kinds of food they are going to get this weekend.  I have had a student say to me that they love getting their backpack because they know they will have food for the weekend.  HACAP has recently started giving bread with the bags of food.  Students are even more excited about that.  They love seeing the different types of bread.  I allow them to pick which bread they take home so the students get a chance to try something new or just have a loaf of white bread at home that they may not have.  I love seeing these students every Friday and they are so grateful for this food!

Girls on the Run is a program that is for 3rd through 6th graders. At Van Buren, we only have 3rd through 5th graders.  We currently have 23 girls, which is nearly doubled what Van Buren had during the fall semester. We meet twice a week to go over lessons and practice our running.  Lessons talk about bullying, gossip, being unique, and so much more.  We are reaching our half way point, and I have seen these girls grow and learn.  The lessons are so catchy, that the girls remember them outside of practice.  We did a lesson about peer pressure a few weeks ago.  The slogan was “Stop and take a BrTHRR,” which stands for Breath, Think, Respond, and Review.  The girls still remember this and use it in practice during different lessons.  When I first said I would be a coach for Girls on the Run, I did not expect to see the girls love this program as much as they do.  I have never really been a runner and don’t know many people who are runners but most of these girls have the passion for it!  I love seeing them run and know that this is something that they can keep up and take with them for the rest of their lives.