Group promotes whole health for girls

Published 9:15 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2020

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Girls on the Run Hampton Roads is providing activities and exercises to its young girls who are sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, and the entire Hampton Roads community is invited to join them for the organization’s Virtual Mermaid 5K this May.

Girls on the Run Hampton Roads is a local nonprofit organization that offers programming to strengthen girls’ social, emotional, physical and behavioral skills. “GOTR at Home” lessons are currently being sent weekly to the girls and coaches in the organization’s Spring Program, which serves 765 girls and their families from 52 different schools across Hampton Roads, along with 200 educators who serve as “volunteer coaches,” according to an email from Ellen Carver, executive director for Girls on the Run Hampton Roads.

As an example, the topic for last week’s lesson was “Deal When Things Get Difficult,” which helped the girls practice identifying their emotions, then taking steps to manage their stress effectively. “At a time when all of us are feeling a wide variety of emotions, this lesson is especially important and is perfect for people of all ages,” according to the email for last week’s lesson.

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These weekly lessons are distributed online, but Girls on the Run is mailing printed copies of the lessons, as well, plus notes of encouragement to the girls. This also helps to relieve some of the “screen fatigue” they may be experiencing.

“The mailings, including the Virtual Mermaid 5K swag bags, will add a new expense of about $5,000 to our lean budget at a time of financial uncertainty to non-profits like ours, but we feel very strongly that they are more likely to reach the girls and have the important impact they are designed to make by mailing them first class to their homes,” Carver wrote in an email Monday.

The programming will culminate with the Virtual Mermaid 5K on May 17. Registration for this virtual event is open to the public, and proceeds will allow Girls on the Run to continue to helping young girls, “by teaching critical whole health skills to help them cope with stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the press release states.

“The Virtual Mermaid 5K aims to celebrate all girls in the program for their unstoppable resilience and confidence to navigate even the toughest of situations,” the press release states.

Participants can register online for $25. Each community participant will receive a limited edition, mermaid-themed T-shirt, a souvenir bib and a finisher medal. Those who register by May 1 will receive all 5K swag items by May 17, the official date of the virtual 5K.

The event is open to all ages, and participants may choose their own time and location to walk or run the 3.1 miles. Coaches and Spring Season girls are automatically registered for the event, according to the press release.

According to the press release, Girls on the Run Hampton Roads urges all participants to follow state guidelines on social distancing when exercising with someone outdoors, and as with any physically strenuous event, “it is important to make sure both body and mind are prepared to complete those 3.1 miles.”

Visit for registration and updates on the virtual 5K. For more information, follow Girls on the Run Hampton Roads on Facebook and Instagram, or call the Girls on the Run Hampton Roads office at 965-9040.