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Good for the sole and soul

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us differently depending on our situations.

For young people, who especially thrive and learn through interactions with their peers, the social isolation has been — well, isolating. Physical distancing was necessary to protect our physical health, but distancing from our friends altogether was never good for our mental and emotional health. Options and ideas to connect virtually have become more known, but some people, particularly children, are still having a difficult time making their way.

That’s obvious in the statistics — according to Ellen Carver, executive director of Girls on the Run Hampton Roads, statistics have shown there was a 26% increase in emergency room mental health visits for children ages 5 to 11 years old between March and October of 2020. That’s a striking and saddening statistic, because behind every one of those emergency room visits was a child who was struggling. And for every emergency room visit, there were likely several more children who weren’t taken to the emergency room, or were having a hard time emotionally but were not to the level of needing emergency care.

With those thoughts in mind, we’re grateful Girls on the Run has decided to start its program up again. This program helps girls create joyful, healthy and confident lives through running. The program promotes physical fitness as well as managing emotions positively and developing good friendships.

Some teams will meet outside in the fresh air after school resumes, and some will meet virtually. This program is available for girls here in Suffolk at Bennett’s Creek Park, Creekside Elementary School, Lake Meade Park, Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School, Burbage Grant, the Holland baseball fields and Suffolk Family YMCA.

For more information, visit gotrhr.org or call 757-965-9040.