by Geoff Larcom, Published May 05, 2011
YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University is teaming up with Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan to support the girls' expanding and ever-popular program.
Each spring and fall, the 10-week character-building program culminates with a celebratory 5k run. The program, endorsed this year by the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, has become so large that it has outgrown its former 5k location at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.
"We are sad to leave the beautiful course at St. Joe's, but we are so excited about the opportunity with Eastern Michigan University. The facilities available to us will allow us to continue to provide a fun celebration in a place that accommodates many participants and spectators," said Patricia Ball, New Balance Girls on the Run 5k coordinator. Ball is also an exciting addition to the program, boasting nine years as director for the Detroit Free Press Marathon.
On Sunday, May 22, participants will enjoy a 5k course that loops through EMU's beautiful campus, complete with an exciting finish in EMU's Stadium.
"We are excited to host this distinct and widely beneficial community event," said Susan Martin, president of Eastern Michigan University. "The objectives of Girls on the Run mirror the support we offer to students - uplifting, building confidence, self esteem and a brighter future. I look forward to personally welcoming the girls and their families to campus on May 22."
The 2011 Girls on the Run spring season began in March. The program, the largest to date for southeast Michigan, is designed for third through eighth grade girls. Volunteer coaches use running to help prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.
Over the course of a season, the coaches teach life-skills such as handling bullies, dealing with body image and the media, making healthy decisions and contributing to the community. Along the way, the girls train together for the culminating 5k event.
There are 48 southeast Michigan schools and almost 1,300 girls participating in the 2011 spring season of Girls on the Run, a non-profit after school program.
"In the last two years the number of girls in our program has more than doubled," shared Danielle Plunkett, council director, Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan. "Our participants complete the program with a stronger sense of identity, a healthier body image and an understanding of what it means to be a part of a team.
"Girls on the Run has an incredible impact on the girls and families in our community, and it wouldn't be possible without the passion of our volunteers and commitment from local sponsors."
The 5k is open to the public. To sign up to volunteer or to register for the event on May 22, please visit www.girlsontherunsemi.org.
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