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Girls on the Run Greater Kansas City helps raise confident, healthy girls

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Posted at 4:09 PM, Mar 23, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Girls on the Run Greater Kansas City is working to raise confident, healthy and emotionally intelligent girls. Every week, hundreds of girls meet in small groups throughout the metro and challenge themselves physically and emotionally to grow.

Usually, the hour-and-a-half meetings are split into two. During the first half, they learn important life skills like confidence or empathy. Then, the groups head outside and move their bodies to train for a 5K.

“It’s not just about preparing for the race, but it’s about preparing for their future,” said Girls on the Run coach Taylor Gatson. “They’re really taking the space to learn who they are within themselves so that they know how to navigate through middle school, high school, once they go into their adult years, and taking what we’re learning now to mold them into the women that I know they are gonna be in the future.”

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For sixth-grader Natalie Locke, she says the most valuable part has been the connections she has formed. The program has brought her out of her shell.

“I feel like it’s a good way to start — just to build up to be a young woman, growing up into womanhood and just being able to express yourself,” said Locke.

Gatson says a lot of that internal growth is done though small-group discussions. For example, the girls worked on managing emotions during this week's meeting. Girls were encouraged to name their emotions, express them and brainstorm how they would navigate those situations in a healthy way.

“Some people are actually unable to do that,” said fifth-grader Khai Carter. “You have to make sure that you know deep down inside who you are, and learning that is very healthy.”

In light of Women’s History Month and all the work they have put into paving the way, they were asked to share a piece of advice for girls who are coming up after them.

“Just be confident, be yourself,” said Locke. “When you learn how to be yourself, and learn how to be confident, and be you, I feel like you can just be a better person.”