FORSYTH COUNTY -- A local nonprofit that combines mentoring with outdoor activity is marking 10 years of serving the community.
Girls on the Run North GA will offer mentoring and life skills programs at schools and area parks for up to 400 girls in third through eighth grades this season.
Stretching from Aug. 24 to Nov. 13, the program will culminate in a 10-year 5K celebration at Lanier Technical College at 2 p.m. Nov. 8.
The nonprofit uses experience-based curriculum and integrates running to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident.
Interactive curriculums — girls in third through fifth grades use Girls on the Run, while girls in sixth through eighth grades use Heart and Sole — are fun and challenging, covering meaningful topics such as self-awareness, building healthy relationships and developing personal strengths while engaging in physical activities.
Lessons are also specifically devoted to a community service project completed by each team, as well as a non-competitive 5K run open to the community at the end of the 10- to 12-week season.
Girls on the Run North GA is part of an international organization begun in 1996 to promote physical, emotional and social development in girls before they reach high school.
It is the first evidence-based youth development program of its kind with a specific focus on young girls.
A goal of the program is to prevent future at-risk behaviors such as adolescent pregnancies, eating disorders, depressions, suicide attempts and substance abuse problems.
“We are honored to have served over 5,000 Forsyth County families,” said Cathie Brugnoli, executive director and founder of the program. “Over the years, many girls have stayed with our program after the 8th grade through volunteer service.”
Registration for the fall program is open. The fee is $165 per participant and includes 24 lessons delivered by trained coaches, a program T-shirt and 5K finisher’s medal and entry for the end-of-season 5K and festival.
No girl is turned away due to financial restrictions, and scholarships are available on a sliding scale for families based on need.
“Today, girls in our inaugural season — fall of 2005 at Sharon Springs Park — are now in college, and many are still serving Girls on the Run North GA through coaching, volunteerism and raising awareness,” Brugnoli said.
For more information on the program, scholarships or how to volunteer or register for the community 5K, visit girlsontherunnorthga.org.