Today we are giving a special shoutout to one of our Superstar Volunteers, Kim Bielak! Kim is an Events Volunteer with Girls on the Run NYC and a Founder of Class for a Cause. She helped build National Fitness Day - the first ever is on May 10th! As part of National Fitness Day, she has worked with fitness studios from NYC to LA to offer classes with proceeds that go to Girls on the Run.
What is the origin story of Class for a Cause?
The idea for Class for a Cause actually came out of a trip to Colombia I took last summer where I was really moved by seeing such a stark contrast between neighborhoods. For example, while you could hardly tell the difference between the tourist-centric neighborhood and Santa Monica with all the juice and salad bars, the area my good friend was living in at the time was just getting its first gym, and we saw parts of town where the residents didn't even have access to their own fresh fruits they were growing.
It took witnessing this first hand to realize that this wasn't just a phenomenon in Colombia, but also in my backyard, where access to workout classes and other health & wellness trends were just not attainable for everyone. I am such a strong believer in today's trends in health and wellness to have a positive impact on society, but I wanted a way that people could both do good for themselves and expand the reach of this impact outside their immediate community at the same time. The rest is history!
How did National Fitness Day come about?
It was entirely serendipitous! We were looking for a good day on which to host our first Class for a Cause event, and we absolutely could not believe it when after a ton of Googling we could not find an overarching National Fitness Day in the US!
Because we so strongly believe in the power of fitness to change lives, we decided to put a stake in the ground and declare one day to celebrate strength and empowerment through it. How cool would it be to have everyone across the country working out on the same day? Our goal is to fill the streets with runners and the studios with friends.
Why did you choose Girls on the Run? Why did you want to get more involved?
We chose Girls on the Run to be our first year's beneficiary because the mission is perfectly aligned with our own - to expand the positive impacts of fitness, and where better than the next generation. We also felt that with 60% of girls receiving some sort of scholarship to be able to afford the program, we knew we were reaching a community that may not have many of these benefits otherwise.
I personally started volunteering for Girls on the Run shortly after I found them because I was inspired by the stories I heard from people connected with the organization, and it's pretty neat how supportive the community is in and of itself - through GOTR I've met so many other women who also believe in fitness and really just want to make a difference.
What does the Girls on the Run mission mean to you?
I am such a big believer that at the end of the day empowering our bodies empowers us at a much, much deeper level, so using an experience and running-based curriculum to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident resonated so much. I personally experienced running turn me into a much more confident and empowered person when I trained for my first half marathon. I thought I would never be a runner, and so I took so much pride in watching myself become stronger and stronger one step at a time. My job is done when everyone has had a chance to experience this feeling.
How does empowering girls through Girls on the Run connect to Class for a Cause?
It is this exact empowerment that we aim to celebrate on Wednesday. For people to get their sweat on and do good for themselves, and to give back so that we can bring the same sense of joy and confidence to girls across the country in Girls on the Run programs.
Thank you, Kim! We're sending you a SuperStar Energy Award!