By Shannon Silver
Posted March 17, 2010 2:23 PM
Many young girls cope with problems of Low self-esteem and poor body image. One girls's group at several local elementary school is helping girls face this problem.
Claire Hendricks use to be a quiet and shy 3rd grader but being part of the group has changed all that.
" I wouldn't talk to a lot of people sometimes and when I came here it taught me how to express myself," says Hendricks.
The group that helped Claire become more confident is Girls on the Run, a program for third through fifth graders.
Girls on the Run is a 12 week program that teaches girls self-confidence and self esteem. Each week the girls have different lessons and activities to teach them life values.
The girls have to work as a team in all of their activities and by working together the girls have learned to encourage one another. The group is for girls at all fitness levels, and it doesn't matter if you run or walk at the meetings the point is to just be active. At the end of the 12 weeks the girls run a 5k event.
The director of the program in South Carolina, Mary Lohman says that getting these girls to be active really changes how they feel about themselves.
"That's one of the most fun things about the program that even the goofiest most uncoordinated kid, who would be out of place on most sports teams can go out there and have a great time," say Lohman.
Dawn Cook's daughter participates in the program at Lexington's Midway Elementary. She values having this great time with her daughter and says she has seen Olivia become more confident.
"My daughter says a lot of things, like it makes her feel good about herself, it makes her feel energetic, it makes her feel more positive and she repeating the words she hears at the meetings a lot and I do think she gets it," says Cook
Olivia says that her favorite part of Girls on the Run is that she gets to see who she really is.
The main goal is for the girls to finish the 5K event, which is just of three miles.
"Its such a big goal because running a 5K is huge especially for a kid, for a lot of adults too but for a little girl especially. They just feel such a sense of accomplishment and support from the community that its really life changing," say Lohman.
Claire says she looking forward to running the race but is even happier that she's a part of the girls group because she has learned so much about confidence, self esteem and lots of other good thing about herself.
Girls on the Run has 11 locations in Columbia. To find out more about the program visit their site at www.gotrcolumbia.org