Girls on the Run program empowers Hannibal girls

For nearly 60 girls in the Hannibal Central School District, an extracurricular club that was introduced during the past year has proven to be beneficial beyond the classroom walls.

The program, Girls on the Run, launched in March to bolster self-confidence while also incorporating physical fitness for girls in third, fourth and fifth graders. Participants met after school twice a week for 10 weeks, learning about empowerment and training for a 5K race.

“We want to build strong girls,” said Fairley Elementary Assistant Principal Stephanie Griffin, who was one of the group’s advisers. “This program was a great way for girls to build self-confidence, learn about who they are and be proud of what they can accomplish.”

That self-confidence grew with every session, noted teacher and GOTR adviser Yvette Gigliotti. Once girls participated in different activities, they were able to create positive self-talk, develop leadership skills and build self-esteem, Gigliotti said.

Along with the classroom sessions that helped girls develop self-confidence, girls would run, walk or jog during their meetings in preparation for the 5K GOTR Upstate Syracuse 5K. The race, held at the SRC Arena in June, was the culmination of the 10-week program and a way for the girls to push themselves and cheer on their classmates.

“We are so proud of them and we think this program will help them in everyday life,” Griffin said. “These are strong girls!”