Girls on the Run launches local shoe drive
By Steve Maher
WENATCHEE — Have a pair of gently used kids’ or women’s running shoes that are getting lonely in your closet?
Columbia Valley Girls on the Run can use them.
The organization launched a shoe drive this week for running shoes in sizes 3-6 kids and 6-9 women. The shoes will be given to local elementary school girls participating in the after-school program in Chelan and Douglas counties. The shoe drive will continue through April 17.
Shoes can be dropped off at RunWenatchee’s weekly club runs (4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays) at First and Columbia streets in Wenatchee; or at Famous Footwear, 1350 N. Miller St., in Wenatchee, during regular business hours.
Maggie Reuter, Girls on the Run program assistant, estimated 70 to 90 girls will be in need of running shoes for the upcoming spring program. Last year, more than two-thirds of the program’s participants received a registration-fee scholarship.
The program is available to girls in the third through eighth grades. It teaches them life skills and helps them become more physically fit and to develop better self-esteem.
“Adequate shoes are important so that girls feel more confident in their ability to run and don’t develop injuries because of improper footwear,” Reuter said. “We don’t want lack of a pair of shoes to hold our girls back.”
Reuter said the Girls on the Run International program, first launched locally in 2007, has been growing rapidly in recent years. This spring, more than 130 girls are expected to participate as the program expands into Douglas County (Kenroy Elementary in East Wenatchee and Orondo Elementary) for the first time. Other schools that will field teams this spring include Morgen Owings Elementary in Chelan (2 teams), and Columbia Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Mission View Elementary, Newbery Elementary and Sunnyslope Elementary in Wenatchee.
The spring program culminates with the Superhero 2K and 5K on May 23 at Pybus Public Market.
Columbia Valley Girls on the Run, an affiliate of Columbia Valley Community Health, relies on trained volunteer coaches from the community.
“Our growth would not be possible without an increase in volunteer coaches,” Reuter said.
Girls on the Run also conducts a fall program in local schools. The fall effort concludes with girls participating in the community wide Turkey on the Run event put on by RunWenatchee on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26 this year).
“Girls on the Run has been near to our hearts for several years now,” said Joel Rhyner of RunWenatchee. “The coaches and volunteers have such a positive impact on the girls. The shoe drive is an excellent way for folks in the community to help out those in need and to keep the program growing.”
For more information on the Girls on the Run shoe drive, contact Reuter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 661-3675, or visit www.columbiavalleygotr.org.