NORTHAMPTON — Girls on the Run Western MA completed its fall 2020 season, providing programming to Pioneer Valley youth both in-person and virtually.
Now more than ever, girls are facing unprecedented challenges. At an age when girls are already vulnerable to decreased self-esteem, the COVID-19 pandemic and societal tensions have led to even more exclusion and isolation. Girls on the Run brings girls from diverse backgrounds together to learn from one another. Volunteer coaches use a research-based curriculum to teach girls about empathy, celebrating differences, and finding strength in connectedness.
The fall season ended with a successful virtual 5K, and some teams hosted in-person, site-based 5Ks with their teams.
This season, thanks to collaboration with local parks and recreation departments and YMCAs, including the Hampshire Regional YMCA, 14 teams and just over 140 girls participated in the fall 2020 season. The organization hopes the spring season will be significantly larger, serving more girls. Girls on the Run is actively setting up spring sites now and recruiting coaches for the spring.
The year-end campaign launched in December with the goal of raising $10,000 to support the scholarship fund for the spring. All donations will directly support the scholarship fund in order to ensure that as many girls as possible have access to Girls on the Run regardless of where they live, financial ability, or physical ability; 65% of participants would not be able to participate without financial assistance.
For the first time ever, the board of directors is providing a matching challenge. Every dollar donated will be matched by the board up to $5,000.
Sponsors for the just-completed fall season include Hart & Patterson, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Health New England, Marisa Labozzetta and Marty Wohl, River Valley Counseling Center, Holyoke Gas and Electric, River Valley Coop, Greenfield Savings Bank, Synergy Physical Therapy, and Mission Velocity.