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Everson celebrates five years of Girls on the Run

Five years ago Holly Snow and Lisa Benner created a local Girls on the Run program—part of a larger national effort through the YMCA—at Everson Elementary to give their daughters an opportunity to get outside in the spring and run. Now, with their daughters running track at Nooksack Valley High School, Snow, Benner and Lynette Ondeck continue the effort.

This spring, the fifth at Everson, has 10 girls participating after school on Tuesday and Thursday from March into June, each student learning to run and encourage each other along the way.

“Our goal is to give these girls a positive self-image and to learn that running is fun and can be a life-long part of a healthy lifestyle,” Snow says. “Motivation can be tough, but the girls are great at cheering each other on.”

Each day the group hands out Energy Awards, allowing students to nominate another who gave their best effort for the day.

As the group of girls works toward a 5K fun run at Lake Padden on June 2, where all the Girls on the Run program participants across the county, including those at Sumas Elementary, come together in a high-energy event, it gives the Nooksack Valley Schools students a tangible goal.

Along with working together to create healthy lifestyle habits, Snow says the girls also work together to create a community impact project. “They have been brainstorming ideas of people in the community they would like to help,” she says. “It has brought great cooperation with the girls to come up with ideas.” In the end, the girls settled on supporting veterans in the community, so they plan to bake cupcakes and deliver them to the local VFW.

As the Girls on the Run students approach the final Lake Padden run, Snow knows the program will last long after June 2, if her daughter serves as any indication. “We see,” Snow says, “the long-term effects of learning to love running.”