One day, while out on a run, Molly Barker had a breakthrough. Ten years later, “Girls on the Run” is a nationally known after school program for girls.
"I had this epiphany right smack in the middle of this run in an amazing thunderstorm, where I became very conscious of the fact that I could define what parts of the word girl I want to be. Do I want to choose the parts that demean or diminish me or do I want to choose the ones that empower me? That's at the core of what Girls on the Run is about."
While Barker's inspiration came through physical fitness, the program is about far more than that. Through a series of activities, the curriculum works to build girls' confidence and relational skills.
"When we're talking about the negative self-talk, the energy of the group is kinda down. But then when they get to the end and they're leaping and they're shouting and they're saying 'I am awesome, and I am kind,' the whole energy of the thing changes. And I think it's like that in our own lives, how we engage with the world around us changes when we feel positive about who we are."
Self-talk, how we talk to and think about ourselves; and fat talk, negative conversation about how our bodies look, has a substantial effect on children as young as six years old.
On this episode of Talk of Iowa, Host Charity Nebbe talks with founder Molly Barker about Girls on the Run.