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On Jan. 22, Girls on the Run International announced the Coach of the Year Award, which is an annual award that honors Girls on the Run coaches throughout the country. Coaches are nominated by girls who express why they think their coach should win through writing, coloring, drawing, painting, or bedazzling the nomination form. Stevie Lowery, coach and organizer for the Marion County Girls on the Run program, was named a runner up. She was nominated by Ebony Dotson, who was a participant in Girls on the Run at Lebanon Elementary School.
The 2013 Coach of the Year was Laura Smelas, Girls on the Run of New Jersey East.
Girls on the Run is a national program for girls age eight to 13 years old. The program combines training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. Locally, Marion County’s Girls on the Run program was organized in 2011.
The 12-week program begins in August and ends in November when the girls run a 5K in Lexington. But, their accomplishments go far beyond running 3.1 miles. They learn to surround themselves with positive influences and positive people. They learn to be assertive and how to respond to peer pressure and bullies. They learn how to challenge themselves. And, they experience, firsthand, how good it feels to reach a goal.
The objective of Girls on the Run is to educate and empower girls at an early age in order to prevent at-risk activities in the future, including substance/alcohol use, eating disorders, early onset of sexual activity, sedentary lifestyle, depression, suicide attempts and confrontations with the juvenile justice system. During the 12-week program, the girls also complete a community service project.
In 2014, the Girls on the Run program is anticipated to be available at every elementary school in the Marion County school district, including St. Augustine Grade School.
To learn more about the program, go to www.gotrcentralky.org, email Stevie Lowery at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lowery at 270-692-6026.