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Monday, December 6, 2021

Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento receives $30,000 grant from Rite Aid

ALLYSON KO / AGGIE

After-school running program committed to empowering girls

Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento, a local branch of a nonprofit that facilitates after-school running and character-building programs for young girls, received a $30,000 grant from the Rite Aid Foundation’s KidsCents Regional Grant Program.

Girls on the Run is an international organization based in Charlotte, N.C., and was chosen by the Rite Aid Foundation for its focus on promoting children’s health and well-being. Along with Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento, 22 Girls on the Run councils in 12 states received the KidsCents Regional Grant.

KidsCents funding is raised through customer purchases at Rite Aid when members of the rewards program choose to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar amount. The money can go toward a particular charity or toward grants like the one Girls on the Run received.

As an independent council, Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento serves Sacramento, Yolo, Placer and El Dorado counties. In Davis, it has programs at Marguerite Montgomery Elementary, North Davis Elementary School, Patwin Elementary School and Robert E. Willett Elementary School. Registration for Girls on the Run’s spring season began Jan. 21.

According to Shaina Brown, the board chair of Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento, Girls on the Run aims to empower girls from third to eighth grade.

“We have a curriculum that teaches lessons about care, community, character, confidence, and we help empower girls,” Brown said.

This empowerment happens, according to Brown, through the running season that culminates in a community-wide 5K event at Inderkum High School in Natomas. This year, it will be held on May 11.

“We get them to run and, over the course of the ten-week season, they train for the 5K race,” Brown said. “That is where girls will run sometimes the longest distance they’ve ever ran.”

The Rite Aid Foundation and Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento look forward to how the grant will increase Girls on the Run’s presence in communities through scholarships. Of the grant funds, 100 percent will go toward scholarships; these scholarships depend on need and can include all registration fees, a new pair of running shoes and a healthy snack at each practice. Other costs include coach training, curriculum support materials and site insurance.

Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento anticipates that compared to last season, 120 more girls will be able to participate in the program because of the grant.

For Maryrose McCoy, the grant director at Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento, a grant of this size will be especially impactful for the Sacramento council, which is a smaller, volunteer-driven council.

“It is such a transformational amount of money,” McCoy said. “[At first,] it was too shocking to even get excited, and then it really was exciting.”

Brown called the grant an important milestone for Girls on the Run.

“We’re going to be able to have an extended reach into the Title One schools, so it’s a really great opportunity for us to get more girls in the program,” Brown said.

Tracy Henderson, the director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives, spoke on the foundation’s behalf.

“[Girls on the Run wants] to expand their presence and offer this really great program to young girls in underserved communities,” Henderson said. “They had a goal of increasing the number of girls that they serve in the greater Sacramento area by 20 percent, and this grant will help them achieve that.”

Henderson went on to explain how she anticipates the program will affect the girls it reaches.

“This grant not only helps with fitness, but it also helps with raising the self-esteem and the confidence of girls,” Henderson said. “[The girls] do community service projects, they’re able to be mentored by volunteers and they’re able to really work on being the best that they can be.”

The KidsCents regional grants, 180 in number, ranged from $15,000 to $30,000. This was their second round of funding since the program was launched in May of 2018. Henderson invited community-members to participate in KidsCents.

“We thank our customers for being part of the solution in communities to help kids be healthy, and we look forward to doing more in the communities that we serve through our program,” Henderson said. “We’re really excited to be investing in these girls.”

Written by: Anne Fey — city@theaggie.org

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