“Geneva Girls on the Go is based on a national mentoring program called ‘Girls on the Run,’ which seeks to share the love of running, commitment to healthy living and importance of self-respect through a low-stakes mentoring system,” says Ruth A. Shields, assistant director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. “In our case, it’s a community mentoring model with low-stakes time commitment from you and a high impact on girls.”
Last month, Geneva Girls on the Go and a large group of William Smith students began meeting on Mondays and Thursdays at 3 p.m. outside the HWS library to begin their run to Geneva Middle School, where they meet up with the rest of the participants.
Now, Shields and the Geneva Girls on the Go coordinators Jessica Cook ’10, Ryan Kincaid ’11, Lauren Morosky ’12, Beth O’Connor ’12 are seeking HWS faculty and staff, female runners of any ability, to accompany them in this new program, which is designed to help Geneva Middle School girls stay active and provide them with guidance. There will be at least two faculty or staff members present to conduct each run; additonal runners can participate as often as they are able. The aim of the training is for the group to run a 5K, with the long-term hope of instilling a long term love for running in each participant.
“The most important criterion for participation is the desire to build a relationship with middle school girls and other members of the HWS community,” Shields says.
When Jessica Cook ’10 heard about the program, she was immediately interested. “What I love about the program is that it lets me work with younger girls while doing something I love,” Cook says. “I think it’s great to be helping out the community but it’s even better that I am doing something that I am very passionate about. I hope by the end of this semester all of the middle school girls will find a role model, someone who they can put their trust in, look up to, and share the love of being outside, being healthy and active.”
A cross country runner since the 7th grade, Ryan Kincaid ’11 also jumped at the opportunity. “For a long time I have thought about possibly coaching a team or starting a club,” she says. “I am really excited to be running with the local middle school students. For me, this program combines two things that I love – running and working with kids.”
For more information, please contact Ruth Shields, at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 3959.