Roseboro Elementary started a new after-school group this year called Girls on the Run/Team PRIDE.
Girls on the Run is a YMCA program for girls in grades 3-5 established to teach character and self-esteem building as the girls complete a set coursework of physical activity with the ultimate goal of running in a 5k. Team PRIDE is Roseboro’s addition to the YMCA program and the PRIDE stands for characteristics of the Girls on the Run: Positive, Respectful, Independent, Determined, and Extraordinary.
With a lot of support from the community, family and school personnel, the 15 girls and their running buddy, who was either a teacher or a family member, completed that goal at Legion Stadium in Wilmington recently.
“Those girls did an awesome job. They loved it and they made all of us so proud of them,” a happy Jessica Eason, GotR/Team PRIDE coach and RES counselor, related during an interview prior to the Christmas break.
She said the group was able to raise enough funds for the girls to spend the weekend at Wrightsville Beach and eat in a “sit-down” restaurant the night before the race without it costing the team members anything.
“Some of them had never walked on the beach or done anything like this before. It was awesome to see the girls’ reactions to all the things we did that weekend,” Eason said, adding, “The next morning we all woke up and headed to Legion Stadium to begin our 5k. All of our girls did awesome and they, as well as the coaches, are so very proud. We wanted everyone to know about their determination.”
Eason said the group has been practicing twice a week during the school year either in the gym or outside in the parking lot.
Besides teaching running, the girls get involved in community projects and, so far, they have worked at the school. Eason said they cleaned the walls, dusted, and helped the janitors in general.
As far as future plans, Eason said, “We’re open to anything, and will be making plans for a food drive and going to the nursing home.”
She said the lessons the girls study are all about building character.
“We teach them that it’s OK to have another opinion, but to be respectful of those who have a different opinion than us. We also have a lesson about the team aspect and that it’s not just about competition. With the team spirit, and cheering others along, sometimes you can go a lot further,” Eason explained.
“We’re also stepping outside the box. Girls are taught they don’t have to be looked on as a weaker gender. They learn that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.”
Eason said Roseboro Elementary plans to keep the program going the rest of the year and plans to continue it next year. She also hopes this will encourage other groups to form throughout the county. There is a middle school version of this called “Girls on Track” and one for boys, called “Boys on Stride”.