Girls on the Run launches new funding program

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BRATTLEBORO — The new Heart & Sole program for grades 6 through 8 addresses the whole girl — body, brain, heart, spirit and social connection.

Girls on the Run Vermont has been awarded a grant from parent organization, Girls on the Run International, to launch its new Heart & Sole middle school program statewide. Grant funds will provide financial assistance for new Vermont sites interested in starting a Heart & Sole program, as well as current sites looking to launch the new curriculum during the 2016 season.

Heart & Sole, replacing the previous Girls on Track, is a 10-week program for grades 6 through 8 that addresses the whole girl through structured, girl-centered curriculum, written by a team of educators, and based on current research regarding physical activity, positive youth development, as well as best practice for working with middle school students, including the work of Association for Middle Level Education and the Harvard Family Research Project. As a result, the program promotes physical activity (running and strength conditioning) as well as team-building, making connections, goal setting, problem solving, emotional regulation, and self-care.

"This new program fills a void for middle school girls," said Nancy Heydinger, executive director for Girls on the Run Vermont. "We're thrilled to be able to offer it to our Vermont sites starting in the 2016 season."

Physical activity is a core element of the program and includes strength and conditioning appropriate for this age group. In addition to the culminating Girls on the Run 5K run/walk, girls also work in teams and pairs to make plans, enact plans, report back, and continue their efforts beyond the season with a project that contributes to their community at large.

"Many of our girls and coaches don't realize the positive impact they have on their community through the Girls on the Run program. Heart & Sole shines a light on that influence, creating a safe space for girls to address real-life issues and make a difference around them," said Heydinger.

Heart & Sole is accessible to all girls regardless of athletic ability or fitness level and considers the range of ages and varied experiences of middle-school girls. All new, and current, Girls on the Run middle school sites in Vermont are encouraged to apply for Heart & Sole funding. For detailed information and an application, call 802-246-1476 or email amye@girlsontherunvermont.org.


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