CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — “It’s just a superb program for young girls,” said Jennifer Helfrich, speaking of the organization Girls On The Run. For several years now, her daughter, Liza, has taken part in the after school program that empowers young women.
“I really enjoy it,” said the 10-year-old. “I like it because I get to meet new people.”
“Our program serves girls grades 3 through 8,” explained Jessica Bell, Executive Director of the Greater Hartford Council covering Hartford, Tolland, Litchfield and New Haven counties. “We have served over 1300 girls in our five-year existence.”
And the pandemic is not going to stop the effort.
“Our program is really important now, more than ever, to deliver the support and connection they need to navigate this stressful time,” said Bell.
“It promotes positive thinking, it promotes their self-esteem,” said Rebecca Briggs, who has been a coach since the local council began, and whose daughter also took part in the program. “We work on everything from the heart, the spirit, the body.”
“It has been one of the most inspirational and rewarding things I’ve ever done,” she said, noting that the group is about a lot more than jogging.
“What I’ve seen girls walk away with is compassion, empathy, strength, endurance and a positive attitude.”
This unique season features a flexible schedule which culminates in a virtual 5K.
“Their time, their place, their happy space,” said Briggs.
But the life lessons will remain the same: Offering young women, at a pivotal time in their development, the opportunity to learn life lessons, one step at a time.
“I want her to be healthy and work with others,” said Helfrich. “And being able to run that 5K is pretty awesome.”
The virtual 5K takes place Saturday, Nov. 14.
Registration for the eight-week session is now open. More information can be found online.