The $1000 Young Visionaries contest grant would directly fund research, activism, and travel in order to prepare the implementation of an endurance running program for young girls in South Africa. The Girls on the Run® mission and program is to educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. Founded by Molly Barker in 1996, Girls on the Run International (GOTR) is a life-changing, experiential learning program for girls age eight to thirteen years old. The program combines training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goal of the program is to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development.
As an endurance athlete, coach, runner, and fundraiser for Girls on the Run International, I arrive in South Africa in late May to run the Comrades Marathon via GOTR’s nonprofit organization SoleMates. I then plan to travel and study which South African cities and schools could be prime demographics to implement the organization’s running program. My link to the fundraising page that donates all proceeds to the team I am currently coaching in Harlem is at http://www.active.com/donate/SoleMates2010/KStence3. Therefore, the $1000 grant monies would fund my goal to institute Girls on the Run programs in South African schools. GOTR’s motto is Learn. Dream. Live. Run. South Africa is in true need of all of the preceding yet already has a deep passion for the sport.