Imagine a schoolyard full of 6-year-old girls—they’re running around, carefree and fierce. Right now, their future is wide open to whatever they can imagine. Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a national after-school program geared toward keeping it that way.  Their goal is to connect girls with their communities and through teamwork, build mental resilience and fortify their confidence.

When young girls hit middle school, statistically, their confidence will take a major dip, particularly around their body image and self-esteem. “Self-esteem and physical activity are two things that taper off for young girls at a certain age,” says Molly Snow, executive director for the organization’s Los Angeles County chapter (GOTRLA). “Having self-esteem plays into whether or not you go to college. It plays into whether or not you get a good job, it helps you from making poor decisions during certain years. But the physical activity piece is really important too because what we’re trying to do is give girls a lifelong appreciation for their whole health. We want girls to be strong, internally and externally. We think it’s important because we think that one half of our population should have the same opportunities as the other half and the only way they’re going to really do that is through belief in themselves.”

Snow says that she’s received countless testimonials from girls and their parents after their GOTRLA experiences, and 90 percent of respondents say the girls have shown increased confidence after participating. One girl wrote: “I feel like GOTR really changed my life.  I’m making healthier choices (like eating fresh fruit and Greek yogurt), I feel more confident, I love running, and I’ve even lost some weight. I really want to continue running in middle school and maybe run a marathon one day.”

Another note, from a parent team organizer who is also a runner and a psychotherapist, reads: “I am extremely grateful for how GOTR has given our campus the opportunity not only to have a sport, but the tools to create a safe, fun, and nurturing environment for our girls. ….it has been amazing to see them come together with respect for one another. These girls are so full of joy and willingness to belong and strive to be a part of something great. … I think one of the best things that I have seen is hearing these girls think of their future and talk about doing track in high school and becoming junior coaches! Simply by getting them to think about their future in a positive way brings the best satisfaction for me.”

Snow says that catching the girls at this particular moment in their lives is mission-critical for GOTR. “You’re about to enter those years where, let’s face it, society is going to spend it’s time telling you what’s wrong with you, so we’re going to try to give you a base to say what’s right with you and if you believe that stuff now, then maybe you can carry that through with you and have a tool for assessing some of those other messages, those negative messages.”

At Herbalife Nutrition, our mission is to promote health and wellness for all, and we’re always excited to partner with like-minded organizations.  It’s why we’re proud to sponsor Girls on the Run.  Stop by our booth at the GOTRLA Family 5K Run in South El Monte on May 20th. You can meet our experts, learn more about our approach to life-long health, and pick up some free goodies. We’ll be cheering loud and proud for all 926 Los Angeles County girls participating in the run. We can’t wait to see you there and congratulations to all spring GOTR participants!

Samantha Clayton

Samantha ClaytonOLY, ISSA-CPT – Vice President, Sports Performance and Fitness Education

Samantha Clayton serves as the vice president of Sports Performance and Fitness Education at Herbalife. She is also the Vice Chair of the Fitness Advisory Board. Clayton represented Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. She is a certified personal trainer with specialty certifications in group fitness, youth fitness programming, senior fitness and athletic conditioning. Clayton has an associate degree in pharmaceutical science and studied chemistry at the University of Wolverhampton. She then went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in public health and a master’s in medical nutrition from American Public University and Arizona State University, respectively. As a mother of four, she enjoys cheering for her kids at their sporting activities. Her favorite Herbalife product is Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength.