How GOTR inspired me to change

My 12 year old has participated in GOTR for 3 years, and I have seen such a positive influence this program has made in her life. When my younger daughter started the 3rd grade, I proposed that her elementary school become a GOTR site! Once approved, the school asked if I wanted to be one of the coaches of the team. I had mixed feelings; I was overweight and very sedentary but since I proposed the idea, I felt it was my duty to participate. Therefore, I agreed to coach the first season of GOTR at Untied Preparatory Academy – State Street. This required me to make some drastic changes in my life. I needed to be a better role model for my daughters (and my sons!), as well as I wanted to be able to keep up with the girls on the team in the upcoming spring season of GOTR.

In October 2016, I joined a women’s gym, I started doing cardio workouts at home, and I changed my diet. I was determined to lose 50 lbs. by the date of the race – May 21, 2017. I received such great support at home and at work! I posted my progress on Facebook, not to brag but to be accountable to my goals and encourage others like me who think they cannot change their lifestyle.

I was in “better” physical shape by the time the spring season of GOTR began. During our first practice, I struggled to keep up with the girls. I found myself jogging and walking by myself because everyone else were better runners than me…at least that is what I told myself. However, not one girl commented that I was overweight or that I could not do it! It was an amazing positive environment, and those girls really touched my spirit! The girls were just as excited to see me twice a week, as I was to see them. GOTR continued to motivate me to push forward with my health goals. I met my weight loss goal BEFORE the date of the race!

My daughters have mentioned how great I look and they will occasionally join me for a workout. I set goals and reward myself when I meet them. I encourage my kids to set their own goals, as well! I signed up for another 5K with my oldest daughter this summer. I want to make sure I stay healthy for the fall season of GOTR – which I signed up to coach again immediately following the 5K in May. The GOTR program has done so much for me and my daughters and I hope to participate in the years to come.

Girls on the Run International and Say It Forward are committed to the empowerment of girls everywhere. We believe that every girl has an important story to share – a story of determination and perseverance, a story that can inspire others to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that keep them from reaching their fullest potential. We are also committed to empowering the women who invest their time and energy in these girls.

We invite you to share your story at Say It Forward and to keep in touch with us via Twitter and FacebookGirls on the Run International Facebook and Twitter. All stories written by girls are shared with the permission of a parent or guardian. Girls’ first names only are posted with their stories.

Story shared by...

Tracy Akanni

I was bullied as a young girl. I was told I was fat and I was not good enough. I was never popular. I dreaded gym class every year. I did not look like the other girls and felt like an outsider all my life. Now that I am the mother of 4 children, I see that I need to be a better role model and prepare them to be confident individuals. Girls on the Run has inspired me…I wish it was something I could have participated in as a young girl. I need this program for my girls!