Volunteer Spotlight: Clare & the Kohl's team

A great way to make giving back to your community even more meaningful is to volunteer with friends and coworkers, and today’s featured volunteer knows this well! Clare and her fellow Kohl’s employees have been supporting Girls on the Run for several years, often visiting the GOTR NYC office to assist staff leading up to our program season and events. Kohl’s is one of many companies with a corporate responsibility initiative that makes it easy for its employees to donate their time and make a difference!

Clare shares her experience volunteering with the Kohl’s team below.

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What brought you to Girls on the Run?
I was recruited by my marathon-loving coworker who previously helped set up the GOTR/Kohl's volunteer events for the NY corporate design office. Having been a runner through college, I wanted to get connected back into the sport and support others in doing so as well!

Tell us what it's like to volunteer for GOTR with your colleagues! 
We have a great time prepping the materials the coaches and participants use, getting a peek into the lessons and trainings they go through throughout the season. Making cheer posters and cutting out the lesson worksheets about building teamwork, camaraderie, and confidence is my personal favorite. These girls are so lucky to have this experience!

How has volunteering with GOTR been meaningful to you and to the Kohl's team?
Volunteering allows us to give back while also getting to know other coworkers from the Kohl’s NY Design Office and other like-minded people in NYC. Through Kohl's Associates In Action program, we donate $500 to GOTR NYC for every volunteer event that has 5 associates present for 3 hours. So, through volunteering with GOTR, we're able to donate our time, effort, and a few dollars! 

What do you do to be healthy, joyful, and confident? 
I believe that surrounding yourself with strong, supportive friends and coworkers of all different backgrounds is one of the most important things you can do to energize and exercise your mind and keep you on your toes! It may be difficult to find the time, but getting outside for a quick run or to a fun dance class with girlfriends always puts me in a good mood and builds a lot of confidence!  

What GOTR event are you most looking forward to? 
In all the years I've been volunteering, we haven't been able to make it to the final 5k. Now that the event is on a weekday, we're hoping we can get a big crowd over to the island to cheer on all of the amazing runners. You go girls!

Interested in getting your company involved in our mission? Email info@gotrnyc.org for more information about opportunities to support our 5k, Sneaker Soirée, or other events throughout the year!

Volunteer Spotlight: Janice

For today’s National Volunteer Week spotlight, we are so happy to feature Janice, past SoleMate and 5k volunteer leader! Janice ran the 2016 New York City Marathon and 2018 New York City Half Marathon as a SoleMate for Girls on the Run NYC, raising funds for our program while training for each race. Funds raised by SoleMates provide scholarships to our girls, allowing them to participate in our life-changing program, so we are incredibly grateful to have these athletes supporting our organization.

Read on to learn about what inspires Janice to run for GOTR!

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What brought you to Girls on the Run?
I’m a longtime runner and when I moved to New York in 2013, I volunteered for the 5k to meet other runners and volunteer for a cause I was interested in. Since then I’ve been a volunteer at every 5k in NY in multiple locations, and have run as a SoleMate for the NYC Marathon and NYC Half Marathon! I love GOTR’s mission to inspire girls to be joyful and confident and the programming and community is amazing.

Tell us what it's like to be a SoleMate!
It’s been a pleasure running for Girls on the Run. Allison (Executive Director), the GOTR team, the other volunteers and the girls are energetic, friendly and supportive. GOTR provides plenty of training tools and tips, and of course - bright, fun GOTR swag!

What is your favorite GOTR memory?
Running the 2016 New York City Marathon as a SoleMate! The energy of the race and spectators was incredible, and I met so many people who happily and excitedly shared their connection to GOTR when they saw my GOTR tank top. The cheer station at mile 18 provided lots of hugs, smiles and a huge boost of energy.

What do you do to be healthy, joyful, and confident?
I surround myself with positive people! Running (and everything) is so much better with the encouragement and support of others.

What GOTR event are you most looking forward to?
The Fall 5k! It’s usually a pretty cold day, but the number of volunteers and runners that come out with big smiles is pretty inspirational.

Want to run a race as a SoleMate like Janice? Visit gotrnyc.org/solemates to learn more about upcoming opportunities, including guaranteed entry into the 2019 NYC Marathon!

Volunteer Spotlight: Jasmine & Rebecca

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Today we’re shining the National Volunteer Week spotlight on two volunteers: the amazing sister duo, Jasmine and Rebecca! Jasmine and Rebecca are members of our Communications and Special Events Committees, as well as 5k volunteer leaders and past SoleMates. We love their shared passion for the Girls on the Run mission!

Get to know more about Jasmine and Rebecca’s experience volunteering together below.

What brought you to Girls on the Run?
Jasmine was introduced to Girls on the Run through Gamma Phi Beta and told Becca about it. After hearing the mission, Becca was in and we both got involved with the NYC program. Growing up we were both active and involved in different sports, and after running our first 5k, becoming SoleMates seemed like a natural way to give back. At the same time we had recently seen Disney's "I am a Princess" campaign (you can watch here), and having grown up watching all the Disney movies, we were so excited to see the message that being a princess means being beautiful and kind but also brave, strong, and adventurous! We needed no more convincing and signed up as SoleMates for the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend!

Tell us what it's like to volunteer on the Special Events and Communications Committees!
Volunteering with the Special Events Committee is so much fun! I (Becca) get a behind-the-scenes look of how the amazing GOTR events happen. It makes me appreciate even more the dedication and passion of all the volunteers who put in so much time along with the GOTR team to make the events so great. It's also amazing to see all the partners that support GOTR and make our events possible! Marketing and communications is not something I (Jasmine) do regularly, but getting the GOTR message out to more people is very important and sometimes it's fun to do something outside your comfort zone! All the volunteers are so passionate about the mission which also makes it fun!

What is your favorite GOTR memory?
We both have two - the first is being a running buddy at several 5ks. Every girl we spoke to had a story about how Girls on the Run helped them be more confident, be a better friend, and achieve their biggest dreams. My second favorite memory is running as a Sole Mate at the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend. Not only did we get to run with each other and our mom, the local GOTR group gave us such a warm welcome, and people cheered for GOTR all along the route. It was incredible to feel the support for GOTR and the impact the program has even far away from home. 

What do you do to be healthy, joyful, and confident?
We love going to a fitness class together! Having a workout buddy keeps us both accountable, and we know we'll motivate each other to work hard, but also to have a lot of fun. 

What GOTR event are you most looking forward to?
The Spring 5k! The 5k is the most fun day of the season, and we're so excited to see the program continue to grow and inspire hundreds of girls and their communities each season. There is nothing better than seeing all the girls cross the finish line and know they have the confidence to go after whatever their dream may be!

Interested in joining a committee? Find more information and our volunteer application at gotrnyc.org/volunteer!

Volunteer Spotlight: Jorjina

For today’s National Volunteer Week spotlight, we’re featuring Jorjina, one of the superstar coaches that delivers the Girls on the Run program to our girls! Jorjina has coached since 2016 and even helps train new coaches before the start of the season.

Read on to hear more about what inspires Jorjina to volunteer!

What brought you to Girls on the Run?
I supervised a GOTR team as a Teaching Assistant during dismissal. One of the coaches could not make it and I stepped in for the day. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to become a coach!

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Tell us what it's like to volunteer as a coach!
It is such a joy to volunteer as a coach for Girls on the Run. Prepping for lessons and running with the girls are great experiences. I really enjoy the insight the girls have when we talk about the theme of the day!

What is your favorite GOTR memory?
My first GOTR 5k as an official coach is my favorite memory. It was the Fall 5k that takes place on Randall's Island. I made sure to check-in with each girl as I ran along the route. I finished with one of the girls who had been struggling for much of the season. We gave each other a high five when we crossed the finish line!

What do you do to be healthy, joyful, and confident?
To stay healthy, I try to get as much rest as possible. I find joy in dancing (my GOTR name this season is "Jiggy Jorjina") and acting. Step Team & Praise Dance really helped to bring out my confidence when I was in elementary school.

What GOTR event are you most looking forward to?
Hmm, I'm definitely looking forward to the Spring 5k. I am also looking forward to what the GOTR Team at my site decides to do for their Community Impact Project!

You can find more information on how to be a coach like Jorjina next season at gotrnyc.org/coach!

Volunteer Spotlight: Nicole

As we kick off National Volunteer Week, we are thrilled to spotlight Nicole, a long-time 5k volunteer and co-chair of our Communications Committee! Each season, Nicole also brings friends to join her at the GOTR NYC 5k and support our girls through her “Team Run Happy!” Read on to hear from Nicole about her experience as a 5k volunteer and what Girls on the Run means to her.

What brought you to Girls on the Run?
One of my strongest support systems has been my running group. I've made some of my best friends and that bond has carried me through distances I didn't think possible. I learned about Girls on the Run from a fellow runner, and I loved the idea from the start — that an organization could help girls find the same confidence, empowerment, and support through running. I decided to sign up to volunteer at the 5K in December 2016, and after that I was hooked!

Tell us what it's like to volunteer at the 5k!
My team volunteers as course marshals. It's a crucial job because you're responsible for keeping the course clear and the girls safe. But, as many runners know, the best part of a race is the people who cheer along the way, and this is exactly what you get to do as a course marshal. You're outfitted with signs and cowbells, and you get to see every single girl run by. Some are full of joy, but for others, your encouragement is what keeps them going. Cheers bring smiles to their faces and they pick up the pace to come in for a high five. Seeing how we can inspire the girls and — in turn — being inspired by their achievement, is what the 5K is all about for me.

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What is your favorite GOTR memory?
Seeing the girls speak at last year's Sneaker Soiree. As a communications committee member, I'm always working to spread the message about how great GOTR is and it was so nice to be reminded of the impact it makes firsthand.

What do you do to be healthy, joyful, and confident?
I'm an avid runner and make an effort to get out there at least a few days a week (mixed in with strength training and yoga.) But my absolute favorite runs are my weekend "destination" runs. My fiancé and I will pick somewhere fun to run to, maybe a new restaurant in another neighborhood or a brewery in another borough, and plot out a long run, where we can reward ourselves with great food or a cold beer for finishing. I also try to get out in Central Park at least once a week with one of my committee co-chairs, Julie, for a run.

What GOTR event are you most looking forward to?
I can't wait for the Sneaker Soiree! Last year was my first and I loved getting to get dressed up but wear my favorite colorful speakers, hearing from the girls firsthand, and enjoying some delicious refreshments. I already have my tickets for this year!

Interested in volunteering at the 5k like Nicole? Visit gotrnyc.org/5kinfo to sign up!