Over 30 girls from KIPP Academy of Innovation recently participated in the Girls on the Run of Los Angeles’ signature 5K event to celebrate self-respect and female empowerment with friends and family. Read on for more details.
For the past three years, KIPP Academy of Innovation (KAI) teacher Catherine Martinez has coached the Girls on the Run enrichment club at KAI. Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a nonprofit dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.
Ms. Martinez and her team of 33 KIPPsters have been training since September to complete the 5K at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area along with 1,200 other girls from sixty-four LA County schools.
“The Girls on the Run 5K is such a powerful experience because it is that moment where all the hard work over the last 10 weeks is rewarded,” said GOTR LA Executive Director Molly Snow. “For most girls, when they set the goal back in September to complete a 5K, it was a stretch. Working toward and achieving a goal like this goes a long way to bolstering self-confidence.”
Assistant Coach Christen Garcia added that “for some of our athletes it's their very first official 5K. Some are excited, many are nervous, but they all step up to the challenge and out of their comfort zone on race day. I'm so proud to hear them cheer each other and help each other achieve their goal to finish!"
It’s clear that the benefits of the GOTR club go beyond physical fitness. Ms. Martinez noted that KAI believes in the value of teaching the whole child, and that running clubs support “social-emotional development where our young girls learn they can overcome any obstacle or challenge.”
Monica, a sixth-grade student at KAI and member of the GOTR club said that this experience taught her that her abilities are limitless. “There is no goal too big to achieve, and every obstacle can be jumped right over; from going to the college of my dreams to running a 5K, having this program at KAI has helped me think BIG!"
Monica’s classmate, Sara, echoed her sentiments about learning the importance of perseverance and grit through GOTR. "I have health issues that some people would say could prevent them from doing certain things in life, but having Girls on the Run at KIPP has taught me this is all nonsense! I can do anything I set my mind to by setting both small and big goals to help me achieve what some say is impossible. Most importantly, I know that I have a support system around me from my very own family at home to my teachers at school - they all believe in me! They help me to know there is nothing I can't do and they encourage me to stretch myself and keep thriving."
Congratulations to all of the GOTR participants!