Girls on the Run Southern Oklahoma is seeking volunteers who want to help area girls build character and learn life lessons.
The youth development program focuses on empowering third through fifth grade girls by teaching them life skills as they prepare for the summer Glow Run 5k. Girls in sixth through eighth grade can join a second, similar program, called Heart and Sole.
“It’s exciting to have this here, but we need people on the ground,” council director Erica Gay said. “Coaches are our biggest asset.”
The girls will train for 12 weeks, twice a week after the school day. Coaches will lead group lessons that teach life skills like building friendships, learning to deal with emotions in a healthy way and learning to deal with bullying.
“People sometimes think you should automatically understand those things, but character is something that needs to be developed,” Gay said.
Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and complete a background check before attending GOTR coach training. During training, volunteers will have a chance to practice running through the lessons and learn skills like CPR and First Aid training before starting.
“We tell them exactly what to say, when to say it and how to operate,” Gay said. “It gives coaches the opportunity to practice leading the lessons and go through the scripts with a team.”
Gay said coaches don’t have to be fitness experts or have any other specific skills. Coaches work in teams of two or three to coach a group of eight to 15 girls. That way, no one is left coaching on their own.
“You don’t have to be a runner,” Gay said. “It’s not about the running, it’s about helping girls develop as people and become the best version of themselves they can be.”
Gay said the program is looking for about 27 coaches and volunteers should sign up by Jan. 26.
“We try to pair a team according to their strengths,” Gay said. “For example, someone introverted and someone more extroverted. We try to have teams that reflect diversity so all of the girls feel comfortable. The more diversity we bring in, the more girls feels they belong.”
To register and view a full schedule of training dates, visit