Virtual Girls on the Run program hopes to help combat loneliness, isolation
Girls on the Run San Diego has launched its fall season for the 2020-21 school year virtually. With more than 150 sites across San Diego County, GOTRSD is a leader in delivering evidence-based, life skills curriculum to girls of all abilities.
Virtual fall programming is delivered by trained coaches with lessons that mirror the in-person Girls on the Run (grades 3-5) or Heart & Sole program (grades 6-8). Virtual programming includes physical activity and social-emotional learning, providing girls with an opportunity to still build meaningful connections with their peers and caring adult role models.
“Our staff and coaches are ready to bring a critical social-emotional learning curriculum to San Diego girls at a time when they need it the most,” said Kasey MacNair, GOTRSD executive director. “We have adapted based on the recommendations of local health officials and decisions of local governments and school districts. Our virtual program makes it possible for girls to stay active despite the pandemic.”
The Girls on the Run programming meets a critical need for school-aged girls, with loneliness and isolation taking a huge toll on girls throughout the country due to the pandemic. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, a recent nationwide study found that 78% of fifth through eighth-grade girls feel more lonely and isolated since the pandemic began. The study, conducted by the Rox Institute for Research & Training, also found that of the younger girls in that study—ages 10 to 14—a third are spending four or more hours a day on social media, primarily on TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram.
Girls on the Run provides a healthy, safe and inclusive team activity that is an alternative to after-school time spent alone and/or on social media. The curriculum can help offset feelings of isolation by creating a team dynamic. The girls will also be provided with a journal that can be used to reflect on lessons or as a tool to combat stressful or lonely feelings, and the physical activity challenges encourage full family participation.
“Together, we will find a way to motivate girls to nurture their physical and emotional health, no matter the circumstances,” MacNair said.
Registration for the season is open at gotrsd.org/programregistration. — Karen Billing
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