The Avedis Foundation has awarded a $2,850 grant to a program that emphasizes the connection between physical and emotional health.

The Avedis Foundation has awarded a $2,850 grant to a program that emphasizes the connection between physical and emotional health.

Girls on the Run, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a physical activity-based positive youth development (PA-PYD) program designed to enhance girls’ social, emotional and physical skills and behaviors to navigate life experiences.

The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities.

“The Avedis Foundation is proud to support this partnership between Girls on the Run and the Oklahoma Baptist University cross country student athletes,” Tracy Meeuwsen, Avedis Foundation program director, said. “This unique mentoring program will give girls the opportunity to develop healthy relationships with trained and caring coaches while increasing their physical activity through interactive lessons and running activities.”

The grant will allow any young girl who hopes to join the Shawnee Girls on the Run team the opportunity to do so.

“The coaches and I look forward to this opportunity to serve our community by encouraging girls at the critical age of third to fifth grade to strengthen their confidence through our fun, experience-based curriculum that also creatively integrates running,” Julie Rankin, director of library services at OBU, said. “Through this grant girls in our community will be inspired to be joyful, healthy and confident.”

The local program will be offered to young girls in third through fifth grades in Shawnee. The coaches will include OBU cross country student-athletes.

The 15-member team will participate in the culminating Girls on the Run 5K May 18, 2020.

The team will meet twice a week at the Gordon Cooper Technology Center (GCTC) running course beginning this month. Those who participate will be provided with running shoes.