Girls on the Run of Greater Alaska program coordinator Rachel Wintz, 24, was named Alaska’s Hometown Hero in Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year feature. Wintz was recognized for her work with Girls on the Run and its expansion across the state of Alaska.
In a release, Wintz thanked all those who have contributed to Girls on the Run over the years.
“The dedication of our coordinators, steering committee members, coaches, volunteers, parents and participants, along with the generous support of our community have made this program amazing and noteworthy on a national scale,” she said.
Girls on the Run is an empowerment program for girls in the 3rd through 8th grade that uses running to teach girls life lessons about things like identifying values, resisting peer pressure, and giving back to the community. It is designed to build up protective factors for girls to make them less likely to experience violence in the future.
Founded in 1996 in North Carolina and now an international program, Girls on the Run is organized on a local level through AWARE, Inc.. It has steadily grown since and now includes more than 225 councils across the U.S. and Canada. AWARE began offering the program in Juneau in 2008. Within a year, the program spread through Southeast Alaska with the partnership of the domestic violence agencies in Sitka and Ketchikan, SAFV and WISH, respectively. The Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault gave funding to expand the program to include Homer’s Haven House, and two new sites across the state — Fairbanks and Cordova — last year. They plan to continue funding the program’s expansion across the state (with the exception of the Anchorage area, which is served by the Girls on the Run of Southcentral Alaska council) in partnership with domestic violence and sexual assault agencies as a violence prevention strategy. So far, 1,157 girls have participated in 15 communities across Alaska.
In program evaluations, Girls on the Run has been found to increase girls’ self-esteem, decrease their acceptance of traditional gender stereotypes, and improve their ability to identify and deal with emotions and stand up for self and others.
“After participating in the program, you can tell that girls are stronger, more confident, and know what makes them special and unique,” Wintz said in the release, “When they finish their 5k event at the end of the season, they know that they can accomplish anything. It’s this attitude that will form the next generation of empowered women leaders.”
Those interested in getting involved with this program can visit www.gotrgreateralaska.org to learn about what’s involved with coaching, volunteering, or becoming a SoleMate. Volunteers are also needed for the upcoming 5k event this Dec. 5 at the Dimond Park Field House.
Contact Rachel Wintz for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 586-4902.
Girls on the Run in Juneau is sponsored by Valley Medical Care, Wells Fargo, HECLA Charitable Foundation, and in Juneau, partially funded by the citizens of the City and Borough of Juneau through sales tax revenues.
AWARE, Inc. is an organization dedicated to providing comprehensive intervention and prevention, outreach and education regarding domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. It’s confidential crisis line is 1-800-478-1090.