GOTR changed my life

I started my journey at Girls on the Run with the Central Kentucky Council in 2017. I was 19 and I was trying to find my way through my college years. At the time, I was living in a house with seven roommates, balancing my school work with my social life, while trying to learn how to live on my own away from home. It is without a doubt that I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t discovered Girls on the Run that year. With my college years came a multitude of unexpected personal endeavors, and at that time these struggles were nothing I was equipped to handle mentally or emotionally. That being said, when I initially started volunteering with GOTR, I didn’t understand its purpose and its monumental role within communities across the country, including my own. It was not until a few months later that I was offered my position as Program Support Associate that I discovered what Girls on the Run meant to me. I was given the privilege of not only teaching the curriculum to the 3-5th grade girls across Central Kentucky for three years, but meeting hundreds of my biggest fans and undyingly supportive role models. The girls within this program taught me more about self-worth, confidence, friendship, and so many other life skills that I didn’t know I ever needed. Within my first season of working for the program, I realized that I could not spend every one of my afternoons teaching young girls what it means to show empathy, compassion, and positivity when I wasn’t doing these things for myself at the time. Watching the way the girls laughed together, encouraged each other, lifted each other up, and pushed forward was the most invaluable experience I could have asked for while having a part-time job in college. Girls on the Run taught me who I was and who I needed to become, and I have each girl in the Central Kentucky Council as well as my wonderful bosses, Heidi and Naresha, to thank for that. GOTR changed my life in a way I will carry with me forever. I hope to mirror the way the girls loved their peers, and continuously built their own character through everything that I do in my adult years to come! Thank you, GOTR!

Photo credit: Image courtesy of the storyteller.

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Madilyn Hope