News / USA

    US Organization Helps Girls Build Self Esteem

    Girls aged 8 to 13 are encouraged to stay in physical shape
    Girls aged 8 to 13 are encouraged to stay in physical shape

    Multimedia

    Deborah Block

    An organization in the United States is helping girls maintain a healthy lifestyle and build self esteem.  Girls on the Run uses running to encourage girls from 8 to 13 to stay in physical shape.  The group also holds after school sessions where girls learn positive behavior.  

    Nine year old Ela Kalra is taking part in Girls on the Run at Washington International School.  

    "It's really fun and it teaches you about self respect and how you should care for others and what you should feel about yourself," Kalra said. "You shouldn't be mean or unkind to anybody else."

    Ela is among 60,000 girls in 45 states who are participating in the 10-week program.  They also learn about nutrition, and how to be more assertive.

    Molly Barker, a runner, founded Girls on the Run in the southern state of North Carolina.  She says the girls discuss what she calls, "the girl box," society's definition of how girls should look, act and feel.  She's critical of it.  

    "There's a certain appearance a girl should have, there's a certain way she should address people and act, and even in educational roles, girls tend to shrink to the back of the classroom," Baker said.

    Barker says the girls learn that instead of trying to fit into the stereotypes, they should be themselves.  The girls discuss developing positive behavior, such as caring about others, and avoiding negative behavior like bullying.

    At this recreation center in Washington DC, Autumn Saxton-Ross is a Girls on the Run coach.

    "When you're in a group, and you're this age, you don't realize that picking on someone, or calling someone a name, or singling them out, can be considered bullying," Saxton-Ross said. "What we really want to teach them is to recognize these behaviors."

    Each group takes part in a service project.  The girls at Washington International School are running and taking donations for a Washington-based group, Girls Gotta Run Foundation.  The money is used to buy shoes for girls in Ethiopia who are training to be professional runners. And it also helps keep them in school.

    Ashley Griffith is on the foundation's board of directors.

    "Many of these girls, before Girls Gotta Run came into the picture, didn't even have shoes," she said. "One of them had a story that she had to get up at five o'clock in the morning to borrow her brother's shoes in order for her to get her run in."

    Mahelete Yared from Ethiopia has a daughter in Girls on the Run at the International School.  She says the money for the Ethiopian runners will help them achieve their dreams.

    "In Ethiopia it's very difficult to have bigger dreams and really believe they will ever come to completion," Yared said.

    Girls on the Run is in its 14th year.  Coach Saxton-Ross says the program gives girls the tools to be future leaders.

    "It speaks to all girls, regardless of what your house looks like, regardless of what your neighborhood looks like, regardless of what you look like," Saxton-Ross said.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora