Girls On The Run (GOTR) is a national nonprofit that empowers young girls to reach their fullest potential through running and friendship. With programs located across the country, GOTR reached its way into the beautiful city of Memphis just a year ago and now serves over 150 girls at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, the Jewish Community Center, the Campus School, Sharpe Elementary School, Power Center Academy, Binghampton Development Corporation, Kate Bond Middle School, and University Middle School.
In an interview with Evie Wilson, Tempestt Hampton, Rachel Nemenoff, Lily Ryan Melton, and Malie Youngblood from the Campus school, it is clear how much these girls have gotten out of the program. This is the Campus school’s first time hosting a GOTR program, and many found out about it through teachers and parents.
Each of the girls had different motivations for coming to GOTR after school.
“I just wanted to get out of the house,” Tempestt says. She was tired of sitting around and also felt excited to be around friends. Lily Ryan also hoped to get out a little more. “I wanted to just be around girls,” she admitted. Rachel joined because her mom was a runner. “I wanted to be able to go on runs with my mom.”
With the fall season well underway, the girls are gearing up for the 5K in November. Through the training program, the girls have learned so much more than how to run 3.1 miles.
Each practice also incorporates a life lesson. “[They] make me really feel good about myself,” Lily Ryan says. The girls unanimously agreed that the lessons were one of their favorite parts. Malie added, “They are really inspirational, and you can learn a lot from them.”
When asked what they had learned, they responded with “how to choose your friends” and “how to balance yourself out,” lessons that help girls grow up making good decisions.
One lesson that really stood out was the concept of empathy, a word even adults struggle with. Rachel reminded the group what empathy is, “It’s having feelings for someone else…putting yourself in other people’s shoes.”
The girls have incorporated these lessons into their everyday lives. “I try to help my parents out at home more,” says Lily Ryan, adding, “I think I have become just an overall more respectful person.”
“The lesson on making friends has allowed me to make more friends,” says Rachel. Evie agreed, “I am kinder and a better friend to my friends.” Tempestt has also gotten to make friends in other grades. “People know me not just as [that] fourth grader, but as a good friend,” she added.
To all of the readers, the girls would like to share some advice:
“Try to get out a little more and love your teachers.”
“If you feel like you do not want to do anything, just push yourself to do something active.”
“Don’t always sit on the couch and watch TV!”
“Have fun outside!”
Using their physical and mental knowledge and ability, the girls will run their 5K Nov. 9 at Shelby Farms. They are nervous but excited to reach their goals alongside their new friends. For more information visit Gotrmemphis.org.
By Chloe Webster
Photos by Tabitha Hembree