Charlotte is home to two incredible non-profit organizations – Girls on the Run (GOTR) International Headquarters and Let Me Run National Headquarters. The programs instill confidence in and empower elementary-and-middle-school-aged children. They use running and curriculum-based lessons to teach specific core components.
Most of the programming takes place through schools, but some teams meet at YMCA branches and churches. They meet before or after school for seven to 10 weeks. The programs conclude with a 5K race, a celebration of accomplishment, skills learned and friendships built.
GOTR and Let Me Run depend on volunteers to coach the runners. More than 700 volunteers from the community will coach 200 teams during the spring programs. Volunteer coaches do not have to be runners. Potential coaches need to be positive role models who are willing to cheer on the participants and lead the lessons. Both programs train the volunteers and provide supplies, curriculum and support.
Interested in learning how you can help?
Help with Girls on the Run
GOTR was founded in Charlotte in 1996. The first program had 13 girls. Twenty years later, the organization is international, serving 250,000 girls annually. Each year 4,000 girls participate in GOTR Charlotte, which encompasses Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Lincoln counties.
The GOTR 10-week curriculum is based on the five Cs: Confidence, care, competence, connection and character. The program sets a non-competitive atmosphere with coaches focusing on building relationships and creating a positive environment.
– Head coaches must be at least 21 years old and female. They must be CPR and First Aid Certified. Other opportunities are available for assistant coaches and junior coaches. A list of sites where coaches are needed in spring 2017 is listed here.
-Complete a five-minute online application. GOTR staff will personally contact you.
-Attend a four-hour training session in January or early February.
-Coach two times a week, Monday-Friday, for 10 weeks from February – May. Meet with participants for 75-90 minutes either mornings or afternoons. Meeting time depends on the program location.
-One-time volunteer opportunities are available for groups and individuals.
-Contact Volunteer Coordinator Brittney Riddick with any questions.
Help with Let Me Run
Let Me Run started at Beverly Woods Elementary School in 2009. The organization has grown to 1,600 boys in the greater Charlotte area, which includes Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, York and Lancaster counties. Let Me Run is in 23 states across the country and anticipates serving 5,000 boys in 2017.
The curriculum runs seven weeks. Each class includes stretching, a unity lap, timed or distance run and then the topic of the day. Topics range from how to be a good friend to how real men show feelings. Let Me Run also covers bullying and gender stereotypes. The organization encourages healthy, positive competition in runners.
-Head coaches may be male or female over the age of 18. Coaches can team up with a friend to help accommodate work and personal schedules. Assistant coaches do not have to attend a training session.
-Attend a three-and-a-half-hour training session in January or early February.
-Coach two-times a week, Monday-Friday, for seven weeks from March-May. Meet with participants for 75 minutes either mornings or afternoons. Meeting time depends on the program location.
-One-time volunteer opportunities are available for specific events, 5K races, committees and office help.
-Contact Jay Seago, Greater Charlotte regional director, if you have questions.
Now go out and do some good!
Photos: Girls on the Run, Let Me Run