It’s a cloudy day behind Petersburg’s elementary school. About a dozen girls dressed in gym clothes are getting ready to test out their endurance skills by running the gravel track 18 times. They are preparing for a 5K community run.
The Girls on the Run program is 10-weeks long and is geared to girls in third through fifth grade. It’s an experience based curriculum, which also incorporates running.
Ellie Robinson is the coordinator of the after school program through the local advocacy organization WAVE, which stands for Working Against Violence for Everyone.
Robinson also runs an empowering program for middle school boys through WAVE called Let Me Run. It addresses re-defining masculinity.
“Boys when they reach teenage years have almost no room for expressing their emotions or empathizing with people because they were not given the opportunity to really learn how to do that because of the way our society is structured,” Robinson said.
The Let Me Run program encourages the boys to open up and communicate.
Both Let Me Run and Girls on the Run have a fall and spring cycle and will be happening again next year.
Girls on the Run participated in the 5K Circle of Life run walk Saturday. The run supports awareness, education and support to those affected by cancer.