Five volunteer moms are bringing Girls on the Run, a non-profit youth development program for girls, to Ramsey.
The program, which runs for 12-week segments in the fall and spring, pairs volunteer coaches with pre-teen girls. Coaches lead the girls through physical, social, emotional and mental development while training them to participate in a 5K.
Before five volunteer moms from Bergen County - Kelly Hasslinger, Merrill Simpsonand Karin Murphy from Ramsey, Deanna Schneider from Westwood and Terri Peri from Mahwah - decided to help bring the program here, the closest chapter of the national organization was in Sussex County.
“I run triathlons, and I was looking for an all-women event to be a part of,” Terri Peri, an accountant from Mahwah, said of how she first became involved. “I was shopping at the Athleta store in Woodcliff Lake, and I saw information about GOTR – they were looking for sole-mates, or people who raised money on their behalf. I was the first official sole-mate of the Sussex County chapter.”
Peri said she enjoyed her involvment in the program so much, her answer was an easy ‘yes’ when GOTR organizers tapped her to start up the Bergen County Chapter.
“It’s just a really positive girl program,” Peri said. “You empower these girls to accomplish something they never have before, and you see the change in them happen so quickly. It’s amazing.”
In order to start the new team, Peri recruited four friends to help her coach. Now, the quintet is looking for girls to sign up as their inaugural class.
The team will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 - 5:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Ramsey, located at 15 Shuart Lane. Registration is currently open online. The coaches are looking for 15-20 girls in grades three through five to sign up for the first session this fall.
The session will culminate in a 5k on November 10 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.