Girls on the Run serving greater Kansas City


Photo courtesy of Girls on the Run

Puberty sucks. Especially for girls. Around the age of 12, I was one of the first of my classmates to develop. I was constantly teased for needing to wear a bra or having to use feminine products. I no longer looked forward to going to school, only expecting to be harassed by the popular kids at lunch for some dumb new reason. The one thing I looked forward to—besides sitting next to the cutest boy in my class—was the opportunity to participate in after school extracurricular activities including theatre and sports. I was lucky enough to have parents who could chauffeur me around and pay for all the activities my tween heart could handle. Playing sports allowed me to leave my problems behind and put my focus into something else. Hour long practices where we were all focused on one goal and encouraged each other to become better. I learned valuable skills and developed confidence through healthy outlets that I desperately needed.

Girls on the Run inspires girls to be more joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. They provide these services to over 115 different schools and community centers throughout 16 counties in the Kansas City metro area. The program serves over 4,000 girls ages eight to 13 years old every year. Last season, 100 percent of guardians surveyed said Girls on the Run left a positive impact on their daughter.

Each year for their annual fundraiser Every Girl Evening, Girls on the Run honors an outstanding elementary and middle school girl and volunteers. This year, one of the honorees is a three-time Girls on the Run participant, Mashahir. After moving to the United States from Sudan in 2017, Mashahir joined Girls on the Run determined to participate and make friends in a brand-new environment. Despite a language barrier, she quickly became a leader on the team through her work ethic and determination. Mashahir received a new pair of running shoes from Girls on the Run so she did not have to run in sandals. She was also one of the first girls to advocate for a Girls on the Run sport hijab.

Girls on the Run envisions a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential. To make this vision a reality, they try to serve every girl regardless of her ability to pay for program fees. Each season more than half of the girls receive financial assistance in the form of waived program fees, free 5k running buddy entries, new running shoes, healthy snacks, and more. Your donation of just $25 helps purchase water bottles for a team of girls. $50 provides a girl, just like Mashahir, with one pair of running shoes. If you are interested in donating to this wonderful cause, head to their website at for more information. While their Spring 5k has been canceled due to coronavirus, they’ll be back in the Fall, on Saturday, November 7 at Swope Park.

In a world where we watch contestants on “The Bachelor” call each other horrible names and tear each other apart for popping a bottle of champagne, we all can agree there should be more joy in our lives and encouragement towards each other. Their non-competitive race gives girls a tangible sense of accomplishment and a place to celebrate with their team and family. The event is open to the public and walking or running is encouraged of everyone to give the girls the encouragement they need to reach their goals.

Categories: Culture