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Girls at Dr. Jones are Racing Towards Success


Riley Booker feels lighter.

“It’s making me feel better about myself,” the fifth grader said.

Booker, along with about a dozen other classmates, are part of a new program at Dr. Jones Elementary School called Girls on the Run.

“My favorite part is how active we are and how we have to keep on moving,” Booker said between laps.

Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program for girls in grades 3-8 that is designed to enhance their social, psychological and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences.

“We do the lessons inside and then we come outside and start running,” Girls on the Run volunteer coach Sally Neitzel said.

Since 1996, Girls on the Run has reached 1.4 million girls across all 50 states. Dr. Jones Elementary School is the first school in Racine to adopt the program.

The 10-week curriculum includes lessons that specifically target helping girls improve competence, confidence, caring, character, connection and contribution. During the program, girls learn specific skills and strategies such as how to manage emotions, help others, make intentional decisions and resolve conflict.

“It’s a passion,” Neitzel said. “I was so excited to hear it was in a school in Racine and now my job is spreading the word so we can get this program in a lot more schools.”

The 10-week program comes to a close next week. But, not before Booker and her classmates get to participate in the Girls on the Run 5K at Miller Park!

“I think it will be so much fun to do that,” Booker said. “We’ve been practicing and we’re ready!”