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“Some of the girls rarely get new shoes, especially good quality shoes. When they first ran in them they said: “I think the shoes help me run faster!” and “These shoes are going to make me run better!” It was very motivating for them to train for their 5k!”

Robert Frost Girls on the Run Chapter, Mount Prospect, IL

When nonprofits can collaborate, it’s a win-win for all!

Jessica Snively of Girls on the Run Greater Chicago chatted a bit with us about how we came to partner together.

Can you tell us a little bit about Girls on the Run?

Girls on the Run is a program for girls in 3rd through 8th grade. It’s all about social-emotional learning through fitness, play, activities, and running. The girls train for 10 weeks and at the end run a 5k.

But really, it’s not just running. It’s about the girls loving themselves, loving their bodies, learning life skills. We talk about how exercise helps with stress and mental health rather than viewing it as a punishment, or doing it only for weight loss and appearance. 

We teach important life skills like conflict resolution, self-esteem, etc through activities on the playground. 

Coaches are a huge piece of the success of this program – they are highly trained and vetted mentors. The girls consider practice a safe space where they can confide in teammates and coaches. 

How did this partnership with Shoes That Fit come about?

One of our coaches, Coach Edie, noticed that her whole team didn’t have good running shoes, so she started crowdfunding with Shoes That Fit. That’s when we realized this was a great time to launch a partnership we’d been thinking about.

We wanted to bring our program and support to under-resourced communities; it’s part of our 2022-27 Strategic Plan. As well as providing our program for free, we wanted to help girls with any barriers they had in participation.

Our coaches found that girls would usually have the right clothes for practice, but shoes were often an issue. One girl was trying to run in Crocs.

So the partnership with Shoes That Fit was really a no-brainer. We decided to launch the program in seven counties in the Chicagoland area. We talked with coaches to see where the highest need was, and took into account the percentage of students on the free lunch program when it came to selecting schools.

Can you share a little about the impact of this partnership?

Together, we’re providing 1,000 girls with new shoes in 2024.

Here are some thank you notes from the girls. And some pictures of the girls in action.

“Thank you for giving shoes out for Girls on the Run. I am super grateful for these shoes and they are beautiful with pink, blue, and black; and I hope you have a good day.”

“Thank you so much! I will be wearing them at the race, the shoes are really pretty. I love them. Thank you for supporting Girls on the Run with our new shoes. We really appreciate it!”

Would you like to partner to make an impact? Get in touch at [email protected]. You’ll be helping kids learn, play, and thrive!

New shoes for Girls on the Run
Practice at Girls on the Run