The Program Encourages Junior High Girls to Recognize their Inner Strength and Physical Abilities through Running
As a teacher at Arizona Charter Academy in Surprise as well as the mom of a pre-teen daughter who is also a student at the charter school, Charlotte Pullins sees first-hand how important it is to encourage young girls and help them develop their self-esteem.
As an avid runner who has four half marathons and five full marathons under her belt, Pullins also knows how regular physical activity can benefit not only the body, but the mind as well.
In an effort to help the school’s sixth through eighth grade girls navigate the often difficult challenges of peer pressure, bullying and the other issues that can arise during the pre-teen and young teenage years—as well as improve their health and well-being—Pullins was inspired to bring the Girls on the Run program to Arizona Charter Academy.
As Pullins explained, Girls on the Run is a physical, activity-based positive youth development program that is designed to help develop and enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical competencies in order to successfully get through life’s experiences.
“I saw how girls in that age range needed a way of handling and navigating the issues that they face at that age,” Pullins said, adding that she had heard about Girls on the Run several years ago and thought it would be a good program for Arizona Charter Academy.
“It was also a program that my own daughter Melanie had asked me to bring to ACA.”
Last month, Pullins launched the Girls on the Run program with eight junior high girls, including her daughter. In late April, the group will take part in a Girls on the Run 5K.
Pullins said she is very pleased to have the Girls on the Run program at Arizona Charter Academy. She is confident that it will help to build and foster a greater sense of “self” for the girls who are participating.
“I am so excited to see my daughter as well as the other young ladies transforming their thinking and growing in all the various areas that the Girls on the Run program strives to achieve,” Pullins said.
“I am hopeful that it will equip them with the necessary tools to become even better versions of themselves. I have a vested stake in them succeeding because I know the more positive we pour into them, the greater return on a positive life they can accomplish and bring to their communities as they mature into adults.”