CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Girls on the Run International recently completed a pilot of their new middle school physical activity-based positive youth development program, Heart & Sole, and the preliminary results were noteworthy.
The initial Heart & Sole program pilot included 33 teams across nine states. Post-pilot surveys indicate that 100 percent of participants reported an increase in physical activity and a decrease in sedentary behaviors, such as watching television and playing video games, as a result of Heart & Sole. 97 percent of participants improved in at least one of the constructs measured in the study from pre- to post-season, these include caring, character, connection, competence, confidence and contribution. Many girls reported that they transferred the life skills they learned during Heart & Sole to other settings, the greatest being asking for and giving help to others.
Built on the foundation of addressing the whole girl, the Heart & Sole curriculum is designed to create a positive, structured space for middle school girls to learn about themselves, explore new ideas, cultivate empathy, strengthen connections and develop life skills that will help them as they move through adolescence and beyond. The 10-week program is accessible to all girls regardless of athletic ability or fitness level and considers the range of ages and varied experiences of middle schoolers. Physical activity includes strength and cardiovascular conditioning appropriate for this age group.
Heather Britt, Ph.D., Vice President of Programming at Girls on the Run, was responsible for overseeing the creation of the Heart & Sole curriculum. Britt explained, "We believe that adolescents bring a lot to the table. We also know that girls at this age often sort through conflicting messages about their worth, their abilities and their value. Our middle school program helps girls develop the skills to tune into their own truths and to unleash their power to live confidently and joyfully."
Each Heart & Sole season culminates with the Girls on the Run 5k, a celebratory event that underscores the confidence, competence, connection, character and caring that participants have been developing in the program and gives them a tangible sense of goal setting and achievement.
There are approximately 7,900 girls participating in the Heart & Sole program nationwide this fall. Girls on the Run International expects that number to grow significantly in 2016.
Additional information about Girls on the Run International can be found at www.girlsontherun.org.
About Girls on the Run International
Girls on the Run is a transformational physical activity–based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd to 8th grade designed to develop and enhance girls' competencies to successfully navigate life experiences. At Girls on the Run, trained and supportive coaches and volunteers teach life skills through dynamic, conversation-based lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event. The goals of the program are to develop and improve competence, unleash confidence through accomplishment, develop strength of character, respond to others and oneself with care and compassion, create positive connections with peers and adults and make a meaningful contribution to community, all while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.
SOURCE Girls on the Run International