This past saturday morning the DoubleDutch team started the weekend off right by donning their tutus and glitter and volunteering at the Girls on the Run Bay Area 5K! Girls on the Run provides a healthy living fitness and education program for girls in 3rd through 5th grade, designed to encourage better life habits and build self esteem. Saturday, thousands of girls from all over the bay area came together in Golden Gate Park for a 5K to concluded their program. Every race bib had the number 1 on it, because that day they were all winners.
To ensure success (and smiles) each girl got a buddy to run with. Thirteen of us from DoubleDutch (myself included) served as running buddies running with girls from two schools within 1 mile of our headquarters in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. Another lively bunch of DoubleDutchers got their cheer on with a cheer station by 3 mile marker - high-fiving and encouraging girls as they made it to their last .1 miles! I might be a bit biased, but I think we were the loudest cheeriest cheer station along the course with strong spirit from my colleagues - even the ones that are definitely not morning people. They made every girl feel extra special as she crossed the finish line! The smiles were priceless from both sides.
As those of us who were once girls between 3rd and 5th grade know - those years are tough. You don’t know who you are yet, and bullying and peer pressure are hard to handle. Girls on the Run is trying to reach these girls when it matters most and remind them that they are worth it! I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to that mission. Here are three things I learned as a running buddy:
Justin Bieber is now cooler than Justin Timberlake
The Kardashians have their own lipstick
To a kid, older siblings are basically superheroes
Just kidding - the real lessons are:
Kids grow up way faster today than they used to
At 10-11 body image issues and peer pressure are a part of everyday life
It is really easy for kids to hang their self-worth on the superficial things emphasized by classmates and the media
Girls on the Run is making sure every girl that participates feels empowered to be proud of who she is and stand up for what she believes in. Crossing the finish line in that 5K means they can do anything they set their minds to. Every single one of us from DoubleDutch left the race that morning with a smile having had a great time and knowing that that day had made these girls’ years - and ours. We will definitely be back next year cheering even louder!