Living The American Dream: Molly Barker, Founder of Girls on The Run

During Sunday dinner my husband and I told our children all of the reasons we love America and why we’re so grateful we’re citizens. I felt so patriotic telling my family how blessed we are: we live in a safe, nice city, we can practice the religion of our choice, our children can receive an excellent public education, we live in a beautiful country with national parks to preserve nature, and *we can create and live our dreams!*

In honor of America this week, we will share with you stories of a few inspiring American women who are living their dreams and how they are making a difference.

The first woman we would like to honor is Molly Barker, the founder of Girls on The Run , a 501 c(3) non-profit organization, whose mission is to “educate and prepare girls for a life-time of self-respect and healthy living.” I personally feel drawn to and inspired by Molly because I have just discovered a love for running myself and have overcome some fixed beliefs regarding exercise in this way. I will be running in my first 5k on 4th of July. I understand exactly how running instills self-confidence. When I finish my training I feel ready for anything…I have achieved my goal, I can only imagine how young girls must feel as they prepare for and finish a race. I am thrilled about Girls on The Run and look forward to introducing it to my daughters as they get older.

Their organization empowers girls to feel good about themselves and run for fun. Molly developed Girls on The Run using her expertise in counseling and teaching along with research on adolescent issues, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The innovative, experiential program combines training for a 5k event with life-changing self-esteem enhancing lessons that enhance social, physical and mental health in 8 – 12 year old girls.

Today’s Mama (founded by Fairy Godmother Rachael Herrscher and Start Up Princess Stephanie Peterson) recently did a great interview with Molly Barker as a “Featured Mama.”

In Today’s Mama’s interview they asked Molly what motivated her to keep going with her dream to start and develop Girls on The Run:

Having my own two children was and continues to be the motivation for what I do. Once I became a mother, I simply could not look at the world’s children without feeling an inherent and strong need to nurture. Every time my children (11 and 8 years old) make a wise decision OR make one that isn’t so wise, but learn from it, I am reminded that the work I am doing is impacting the world…at multiple levels, personally and globally.

Her Next Big Dream:

To leave this world, knowing that Girls on the Run is accessible to ALL girls and has become a global rite of passage for every 8 to 11 year old girl.

More about Molly and Girls on the Run:

Today, there are Girls on the Run® programs in over 150 cities across North America, with tens of thousands of girls and women participating. In 2007, Girls on the Run® will host over 70 end-of-season 5k events across the United States and Canada. In 2006, Molly was the recipient of several prestigious national awards including Redbook magazine’s “Strength and Spirit Award” which recognizes individuals who are building a better future for all of us, the “Woman’s Day Award” from Woman’s Day magazine which salutes individuals who have used their vision and heart to help fix pressing problems and the highly prestigious “Heroes of Running Award” from Runner’s World magazine.

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4 Responses to “Living The American Dream: Molly Barker, Founder of Girls on The Run”

  1. Erika Wilde on July 2nd, 2007 10:35 am

    How awesome to see a combination of physcial training with the self-esteem and goals training. I started running 20 years ago in 8th grade, and it has helped my life in every way!

    Good luck Molly.

  2. Molly Barker on July 4th, 2007 3:37 am

    WOW!!! What an amazing honor AND surprise. How can I ever thank you. When you get a chance, please do send along information that we could perhaps send along to all of our “council directors” who are also “social entrepreneurs”. As you know it takes a lot of courage to follow your dream and Girls on the Run is providing so many women (not just the girls we serve!) a chance to do that, by starting up their own “chapter of Girls on the Run.

    I applaud your initiative and the amazing ways you are reaching women. Please promise to keep us informed and provide information on how we can support your efforts to further women’s quest to “follow their dreams.”

    Molly B.

  3. startupprincess on July 4th, 2007 11:04 am

    Molly, so glad you found us here! :) Thanks for taking time to comment!

    I just barely returned from finishing my very first 5k and it was sooo amazing. I cried at the finish line, I was so happy I achieved the goal and broke through many barriers and self-perceptions about exercise, etc. I did well too, which was even better! Now I’m even MORE charged about what Girls on the Run does for self-esteem! :)

    You’re right! Your council directors are doing amazing things…we need to get more states to participate. I’ll see what I can do to find someone for Utah. I really value and appreciate what all of them do and would love to help any way Start Up Princess can.

    Best to you and your team!
    Go Girls on the Run, Go!
    Kelly

  4. Our American Dreams at StartUpPrincess.com on July 5th, 2007 8:21 am

    [...] week we’ve featured Molly Barker of Girls on The Run and Joni Eareckson Tada of Joni & Friends, women who are living the [...]

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