Girls on the Run Memphis is a nonprofit organization that inspires elementary and middle school-aged girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experienced-based curriculum that creatively integrates running as a means to build team life skills. 

Thanks to a partnership with Shelby County Schools, this 10–12 week program will debut at the start of the 2018–2019 school year at Kate Bond Middle School and Sharpe Elementary School. Additional Mid-South schools will be announced at a later date—with planned expansion into independent, charter, and parochial schools and community centers in Shelby, Tipton, and Fayette County.

“Girls on the Run is on the leading edge of social, emotional and physical education, and we are thrilled to finally have it in Memphis,” says Joanna Lipman, board chair of Girls on the Run Memphis. “Our program targets girls right when their self-esteem dips and they are less certain about their place in the world. Our curriculum will help prepare girls in our community for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.”

Girls on the Run serves girls in grades 3-5, and the organization’s Heart and Sole curriculum is tailored to girls in grades 6-8. Participants meet twice a week after school for 1.5 hours, and the program culminates with a 5K. Trained volunteer “Coaches,” who act as mentors and motivators for the girls, lead the 10-week course.

This year, Girls on the Run Memphis is partnering with Shelby Farms Park’s Heart of the Park Race for the celebratory 5K event, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 10.

Online registration for Sharpe Elementary and Kate Bond students starts in July. The cost for the entire season is $175 per student. That fee also includes a T-shirt and the 5K entry. Financial assistance is available, and no girl will be turned away for an inability to pay the full amount.

“Access and inclusion are central to all Girls on the Run chapters,” Lipman says. “We want to make sure we aren’t missing out on any opportunity to change someone’s life.”

Interested volunteers and community partners can follow Girls on the Run Memphis on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as GOTRMemphis.