Girls on the Run building up students at St. Rita Catholic Schoo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Girls on the Run building up students at St. Rita Catholic School

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Confidence and competence are just two of the life skills a national running club is instilling in local girls.

A new study shows the skills the pre-teens are learning through Girls on the Run are paying off later in life.

The school day is over at St. Rita Catholic School, but for these girls, some of the biggest life lessons they'll learn are just beginning. The south Louisville students are part of Girls on the Run.

The nationwide program encourages pre-teen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles.

"They're trying to build up your spirit about being a girl," said 5th grader Paige Grain.

In its third year at St. Rita, nearly 40 girls, in grades 3rd through 8th, stay after school twice a week. They start their workout in the classroom where coaches stretch the girls' minds and build strong self confidence.

"You have an unpositive plug in your head. You have to unplug it, put a new positive plug inside of you," said Lily Sumner. The 5th grader says she applies the positivity she's learned in other areas of her life.

"One time I was really scared because there were big girls going against me, and I said 'I can do it.' Girls on the Run has taught me to be brave and stand up against my fears," said Sumner.

The lessons don't stop once they head outside and hit the track. The girls take a lap, and then identify a challenge they face. The next time they complete a lap, they tell a coach what they're confident doing. Without even realizing it, they've run a mile and accomplished an even greater feat than the physical accomplishment.

"It's amazing to see even over one season how much they grow in their confidence and their drive," said coach and teacher Erin Montfort.

At an age when physical activity levels start to decline and confidence can take a blow, Girls on the Run is there to build girls back up.

"We have some girls that come from hard situations, and don't get the opportunities in their home life to do that, and this is just a safe environment for them to spread their wings," said Montfort.

That's paying off later in life.

"A recent study that was done actually shows statistical evidence that they are applying it to their home, to their family. Those are skills that are life changing," said Marsden Connolly, a coach for Girls on the Run.

The season ends with a 5K. That's 3.1 miles that don't faze these strong, confident girls.

"Girls are awesome," said 4th grader Alyssa Gibbs.

The Louisville Girls on the Run 5K is November 18 and anyone can run.

Click here for more details.

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