Mia Wohlgamuth admits before joining Girls on the Run, she struggled with her emotions and found It physically challenging to run a mile. At a time in life when confidence and determination are critical, the program helps young girls, like Mia, find their full potential.
As she faces her very first 5K race, Mia is excited to show her friends and family just how far she’s come.
“I've never been in a race before,” Mia said. “I think it's going to feel amazing when I finish.”
The joyful, fun, non-competitive 5K, is the culmination of hard work, training and accomplishment for Mia and others who completed the 10-week program at Girls on the Run Greater Tampa Bay.
The nonprofit organization received $30,000 UnitedHealthcare grants in 2020 and 2021 to expand the youth development program to five high-need sites in the area. In addition, the funding is being utilized to provide scholarships for the after-school program to help young girls lead an emotionally and physically healthy life.
Girls on the Run inspires girls to be healthy and confident using an experience-based curriculum that emphasizes the important connection between mind and body.
The program, which serves third through eighth grade girls, helps develop lifelong skills such as how to manage their mental health, support others and grow their confidence. Participants are celebrated at the completion of the program through a community service project and a 5K graduation event.
“We help our girls in the program find their voices and unleash their limitless potential,” said Quenita Oats, the executive director of Girls on the Run Greater Tampa Bay. “We teach them how to deal with stressful situations, how to ask an adult for help, how to be a good friend and we use running as the vehicle to teach them these life skills that they can use now and throughout life.”
For Mia, the program helped her find her voice — and her stride.
“Before Girls on the Run, I couldn't really express my emotions as much to other people. Now, I can,” she said. “It's a great experience. It's been amazing.”
To date, Girls on the Run has served more than 7,000 girls in the Tampa Bay area.
For more information about how to get involved or volunteer with the organization, visit the Girls on the Run Greater Tampa Bay website.