Dedication: GOTR Coaches everywhere!
Jaden was born the oldest child in a home of domestic violence. She lived in the home until just before her 4th birthday. Both of her younger sisters had life threatening injuries. Finally, when her youngest sister was 2 months old and had 5 broken bones all the girls were removed and placed in foster care. After being asked to leave a couple homes (foster homes and family placement homes) they finally came to my house as a family placement in June 2012. I am their first cousin once removed but was yet another stranger to the girls when they first arrived. While in my home, the girls experienced more severe abuse from their birth mother’s boyfriend during court ordered visitation. Jaden and her sisters now have court orders banning 2 adult men from having any contact with them. Their mother then married that same boyfriend this past spring, further severing the fragile trust Jaden had in her birth mother. Understandably, Jaden suffers from low self-esteem and has trouble making friends and is often unhappy. At times Jaden falls back to the social system she first learned, bullying.
Jaden did not want to join Girls on the Run. The first couple weeks I had to force her to go and be very firm ensuring her that I would not allow her to quit. After the first couple weeks, she went without complaint. Now she enjoys going, enjoys exercising outside of GOTR and has a much better overall attitude about everything. I often catch her happily singing/chanting the GOTR sayings. She teaches her sisters with kindness about peer pressure and gossiping, which she learned from her coach.
When I asked Jaden to describe her coach to me, here is Jaden’s list; she is nice, loving, caring, confident and strong, she supports people, she is a great teacher and she encourages me.
In a very short period of time Jaden’s coach has made a tremendous impact on the life a little girl that desperately needed it!
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 Facebook — Girls 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.