Girls on the Run program wins $10,000 grant

Organizers of a program for some Boone County girls in the third through fifth grades won a contest worth $10,000.

A Pepsi Refresh Challenge Grant was awarded to the Heart of Missouri Girls on the Run.

The organization is an afterschool program for girls. The girls get ready for middle school by learning how to deal with bullying and peer pressure while at the same time enjoying the sport of running. At the end of 10 weeks, the girls compete in a 5K run.

Midway Heights Elementary School Student Sidney Yaeger said, â??It helps you understand that you shouldnâ??t do specific things. You should do good things and not bad things. It helps you learn how to run faster.â??

The organization won their $10,000 grant by getting the most online and text message votes during the month of November. The grant money will expand the girlâ??s program this spring, by growing from 2 to 5 Boone County elementary schools.

The Boone County program will expand in the fall. Organizers plan to expand outside of Boone County within the next 5 years.

Executive Director Nancy Yaeger said, â??The girls have so many different pressures put on them at younger and younger ages. Itâ??s just helping them become strong and confident to where they donâ??t give into those things.â??

Organization leaders expect to have about 75 girls in their program this spring. Organizers said they can always use more volunteers to help these girls on the run.

The organization received $5,000 in grant money this month.

Organizers are scheduled to get the other $5,000 in May.