Berrien, Cass Girls on the Run program receives funding

ST. JOSEPH — Girls on the Run Southwest Michigan recently received a $5,000 grant from The Frederick S. Upton Foundation.

Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program that is designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences.

The 10-week program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities. The life skills curriculum is delivered by caring and competent coaches who are trained to teach lessons as intended.

The program inspires girls to build lives of purpose and to make a meaningful contribution to community and society. This comes to life through a key element of the curricula when each team creates and executes a community service project. The season concludes with a celebratory 5K event. Completing a 5K gives the girls a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals, organizers said.

Girls on the Run Southwest Michigan anticipates hosting 60 sites with 105 teams serving 1,400 girls during the 2018 spring season.

“We are grateful to be the recipients of The Frederick S. Upton Foundation,” said Julie Bos, executive director of the organization. “Their investment in our program will allow us to provide access to any girl interested in participation and seeking to activate her limitless potential.”

The Frederick S. Upton Foundation is a broad-based family foundation, with a stated mission “To Love Our Community.”

The Upton Foundation was established in 1954. Frederick S. Upton was one of the founding fathers of Whirlpool Corporation.

The Upton Foundation predominantly funds programs and projects that serve Berrien County.

“The Upton Foundation is proud to help our youth of Berrien County participate in the annual Girls on the Run [program],” said Board Chair Jeff Upton. “This organization provides a pair of sneakers [if needed] with the registration fee and our grant will allow more youth to participate in this wonderful program.”

Girls on the Run Southwest Michigan’s mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using experience-based curriculum that integrates running. The organization serves girls in Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties.

Visit gotrswmi.org to register a girl, volunteer or learn more about Girls on the Run Southwest Michigan.

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