Briseis hugs her mom after finishing the 5K race.
By Reesha Brown
Girls on the Run offers Pasadena ISD students more than just a workout.
This 10-week after-school initiative teaches life skills, encouraging students to unlock their potential, overcome obstacles and prepare for life’s journey.
The students meet twice a week in small teams, where they learn valuable skills through fun, interactive lessons that celebrate movement with running games. The curriculum is taught by certified Girls on the Run coaches and includes three parts: understanding oneself, valuing relationships and teamwork and understanding how to connect and shape the world.
“Girls on the Run is symbolic for reaching a goal,” said Melissa Capuchina, coordinator of Pasadena ISD’s Girls on the Run program. “We tell the girls, they should never give up because life will never be easy.”
Last week, 45 Girls on the Run from each participating campus, including Richey, L.F. Smith and Golden Acres Elementary Schools, gathered at Crenshaw Park for a 5K run. Students had an opportunity to apply the life skills they picked up through the program to push them toward the finish line.
“It felt amazing [to finish the race] because I have never accomplished anything that big,” said Briseis Cantu, a new student at Golden Acres.
At the end of the season, the girls will compete in the Greater Houston 5K Girls on the Run race in December. Completion of the race is intended to give participants a sense of accomplishment and help provide a framework for setting and achieving lifelong goals.
“It’s about building self-confidence, uplifting your teammates and uplifting yourself,” said Cantu.
The program has been a life-changing experience for some.
Before Cantu enrolled at Golden Acres, she said her afternoons were sometimes unproductive.
“I would watch TV and wouldn’t really do anything,” Cantu said. “On Mondays and Wednesday when we meet for Girls on the Run, I feel really happy and I am excited that we get to do all these new and fun things.”
Farrah Luna, also from Golden Acres, believes the program has helped her communicate with others more effectively.
“I was always shy, so I wanted to work on that and feel more comfortable around people,” said. “With this program, I have fun and I can express myself.”
Capuchina was impressed by Luna’s transformation.
“During activities, we encourage the girls to be outspoken,” Capuchina said. “Sarah used to keep to herself and now if you ask a question, her hand is the first to fly up.”
The program, which started at Moore Elementary several years back, has taken off at the three remaining campuses. Capuchina credits the coaches for the success of Girls on the Run.
“The teachers come out twice a week to work with the girls, push them to their highest potential and teach them life skills,” Capuchina said. “If it weren’t for them, they wouldn’t be running.”
If you are interested in starting a chapter at your campus, please contact Melissa Capuchina, MCapuchina@pasadenaisd.org or visit the website at gotrgreaterhouston.org.