Running can help people both physically and mentally. But UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital's Girls on the Run® program adds one more benefit: building friendships.
UPMC Magee's Girls on the Run® is part of the nationwide Girls on the Run® effort. It is a running program designed for local girls in third through eighth grade. Girls aged 16 to 18 can volunteer as coaches.
The girls participate in 90-minute sessions twice a week over 10 weeks at locations throughout western Pennsylvania. Trained coaches lead the sessions, which introduce girls to the experience of running. The sessions include both physical activity and discussions, allowing the girls to exercise themselves physically, emotionally, and socially.
By participating in the program, girls learn about the benefits of running and having a healthy lifestyle. They also get to meet and bond with girls their own age, building lasting relationships. The program also has a service initiative in which girls participate in community service projects during the training sessions.
Along with its physical benefits, Girls on the Run® helps participants to build confidence, character, and connections. We strive for diversity and inclusivity, building an atmosphere where all girls are welcome to participate.
The program concludes with a celebratory 5K for program participants and their friends, family, and members of the community. This allows the girls to receive recognition for their accomplishments and feel a sense of fulfillment in completing the program.
About 1,500 girls from western Pennsylvania participate in Girls on the Run® each year. Since 2001, it has served more than 20,000 girls in western Pennsylvania.
The program has lasting impacts. Studies report a 40% increase in activity in the girls who were least active before starting the program. Meanwhile, 97% percent of girls said they learned lasting life skills like conflict resolution and decision-making. Another 97% said they felt they could be themselves at Girls on the Run.
At UPMC, we are proud to provide and support programs like Girls on the Run®. Because Life Changing Medicine means providing an opportunity for people to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Working in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh and a wide range of community organizations, we are committed to improving the health of the communities we serve.
Life Changing Medicine at UPMC is made possible every day through the generosity of numerous individuals, corporations and foundations.
With volunteers ranging from teens to seniors and options involving office work or patient care, there's a place for all qualifying volunteers at nearly two dozen UPMC hospitals.