Part of the Girls on the Run curriculum focuses on empowering girls to share their strengths and use their unique gifts to positively impact those around them. At the end of the season, every Girls on the Run team creates their own Community Impact Project. The projects are driven by the girls, they are responsible for planning, collecting materials, etc, which gives them a strong sense of ownership and accomplishment. They walk away feeling empowered and realize that together they can have an impact on their communities or towards a cause they are passionate about.
In the past, my team has donated supplies and created awesome toys for East CANN, which is a group in East Nashville dedicated to educating the public on issues of animal welfare, responsible pet ownership, and reuniting lost pets with their families. The project is super fun, and easy to be excited about!
This season, we did something that impacted the kids they sit next to in class and play with on the playground.
Julia's Families is a program at their school that supports low-income families by providing them with much needed clothes and food. Families who take part in this program are provided with bags of food each weekend to help make up for the meals these students are normally eating from the school cafeteria (breakfast and lunch). In addition, the bags contain snacks and food for dinner. Students can visit the Julia's Families portable which has been set up to allow the students to "shop" for what they need and try on clothes and shoes to make sure they fit before taking them home. Julia's Families strives to help meet the basic needs of these students so they can be successful each day at school.
Our girls collected food and warm clothes for Julia's Families as part of their Community Impact Project! The girls collected enough for 22 back pack bags and we had leftover sides to put in their holiday delivery boxes! We also collected warm clothes and SOCKS. As a Minnesota native, I used to be so confused on why they would close schools just because it was cold outside. They do it because many of the kids in this county cannot afford coats/socks/mittens/hats, and they don't want them to stand out at the bus stop without these necessary winter items.
When we originally discussed this idea, I asked them if they knew that kids in their classroom sometimes went without food during the weekend and didn't have warm clothes to wear in the winter. I saw several shocked faces looking back at me. The conversation and the excitement it spurred in the girls is something I will never forget. They were so excited to realize that each one of them could play a part in making a difference in one of their classmate's lives.
Considering that the holidays are upon us, and that #GIVINGTUESDAY is today, I thought this was the perfect story to share. I love how the curriculum cultivates a sense of gratitude and giving.
Have you participated in #GIVINGTUESDAY yet? If not, please consider donating to Girls on the Run of Middle Tennessee! Help us continue to empower girls and cultivate the spirit of giving back to our communities! Click here to donate! - http://bit.ly/givingtuesdaygotrmiddletn
More reasons to donate, just in case you needed them:
- In 2015 GOTR Middle TN has been able to give more than 550 girls the tools they need to be joyful, healthy, and confident with our fun experienced-based curriculum.
- Our supporters have allowed us to give 56% of our girls the opportunity to participate through scholarship funds.
- The Board of Directors selflessly provides time, talent and treasure, the three pillars of our commitment as leaders. 100% of our Board members have made meaningful contributions to support our efforts.
- Our staff has worked diligently to grow our organization. Since 2014 we have been able to give 55% more girls an opportunity to learn how to unlock their limitless potential.
(p.s. If you are reading this on a day other than #GIVINGTUESDAY, you can still donate to GOTR of Middle Tennessee or your local Girls on the Run council here - http://giving.girlsontherun.org/ )