FOX Sports Midwest has been a wonderful partner with Girls on the Run St. Louis for several years now, and as a result, us FOX Sports Midwest Girls have had the chance to participate in their semi-annual 5k races and fundraisers to help support the cause. But this year, we were able to get involved on a much deeper level as coaches for the New City School group.

Kayla and I went through all of the proper training to start out the fall season and attended every Monday practice for each of the 12 weeks. It was such an experience to be able to share that with those girls and help teach them the pillars of the program.

“Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program (PA-PYD) designed to develop and enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical competencies to successfully navigate life experience. The mission of Girls on the Run St. Louis is to empower girls for a lifetime of healthy living. Our program for girls in the 3rd through 8th grades inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”  —GOTR Website

I hold all of these ideals close to my heart and believe it is important to instill confidence and a healthy lifestyle into the younger generation of women. It was so special to be able to teach the girls about friendship, leadership and self-worth, among other things, while serving as a role model.

It really touched me when I was able to relate to the girls and their personal struggles that I once encountered. For example, one girl was really interested in the fact that I played all kinds of sports, not just the traditional “girl” sports or dance, and that it was ok to be an athletic girl that could play with the boys. While another was battling with not being popular and dealing with negativity from others.

We are blessed to be involved with so many wonderful charities and causes, but this project with Girls on the Run St. Louis really touched me. As a girl that was blessed with a family who taught me to be everything that I wanted be, to be myself and to follow my dreams, I believe it is so important for me to be able to give back to my fellow females and help young girls learn that same self-confidence and drive.