Ask me why I coach Girls on the Run and I will give you many reasons. I think it is selfish as I get more than I give most days but there are days that stun and amaze even me. There are days that bring me to my knees thanking God for bringing me to this program at this time in my life.
I have a really small group of third graders this season but it has been great in many ways. These girls are really needy in so many ways and are not girls that normally ‘hang out’ together on a regular basis. Monday one of the girls came in looking so very sad. The other girls asked her what was wrong and she didn’t want to talk about it. So we started on the lesson(I feel….) and soon she raised her hand and asked us if she could give a situation. I said yes. Well …then she opened up like a flood. She was being teased and called really vile names. Some of the students had started to gang up on her and she was feeling so overwhelmed. She was terrified to tell her teacher for fear of making the situation worse. She did not want to talk to her parents as they would go to the teacher, again making it worse in her eyes. I sat in our circle just stunned that this little body was holding so much inside. Before either coach had a chance to collect our thoughts and give her suggestions, the other girls started. First they started to hug her one by one as they told her they were there to help. The suggestions came one by one. The swell of protectiveness for her grew. The girls developed a signal for each other when they needed help whether it was on homework or from a bully. The girls composed a letter to the classroom teacher requesting a meeting to discuss the issue. The girls requested that I ‘take a walk’ into their classroom to check on things later in the day and if all was well I would get a ‘sparklefingers’ if not… a sad face. If I got a sad face, then we would move to step 2 where the 2 coaches would help and get involved if nothing was getting better. Yes, we spent a longer time talking than planned but the mood was amazing. The feeling of empowerment…WOW!
Well, We all met yesterday for GOTR and things are looking up. I did ‘take a walk’ on Tuesday and got not only sparkle fingers but a glowing smile. I spoke with the teacher privately who thanked both coaches for our help with the situation which she will now monitor more closely. The girls all said they feel stronger than before. They all seem to really walk a bit taller and are so supportive of each other. I shudder to think of how things would be different if the girls did not have a place to share and learn life long lessons in self confidence. I am grateful I am allowed to provide such a place to these girls. I am grateful for Girls on the Run.