By YVETTE COLMANT
Cherokee Girls on the Run Teams left for Asheville early Saturday, May 21 sleepy but enthusiastic. We had 20 members from our Cherokee and East Swain teams, four coaches, and two running buddies, and four family members.
We were thrilled because this was the best turn out ever for the large 5K run. Then, when we unloaded the bus, we couldn’t believe it, we were greeted with 15 more families and running buddies. One of our East Swain Elementary members, Tia Panther, was met with seven running buddies. Me-Li Jackson from Smoky Mountain Elementary brought her mother, father, step father and ran with her sister Paige Jackson. Jimiqua Driver from Cherokee Elementary ran with her cousin Grace Bird and Justice Littlejohn. Emma Pindur from Mountain Discovery Charter School ran with her sisters Kaitlyn and Cassidy.
Then, when we crossed the finish line, we spotted at least 10 more families from Cherokee and Swain. Some were holding up signs and others were cheering. The crowd was filled with the love of the Girls on the Run member’s grandmas, friends, mothers, fathers, Cherokee Runners, step dads, and step mothers, brothers, sisters, and yes, even a puppy. As Girls on the Run Coaches, we felt so blessed. It was wonderful to see the community come out and support the girls. Our girls felt the love and the pride from their community, and they will never forget that day. Tara Mc Coy and Yvette Colmant want to thank you Cherokee for taking care of your girls and cheering them on. Because of you, it was an amazing day!
These teams were joined with 1500 runners from WNC Girls on the Run chapters and other local runners. Dr. Black’s Dental office in Asheville provided our teams with six more running buddies. Our girls were strong and ready. Way to go Strong Girls!
Girls on the Run is an internationally recognized non-profit program focused on the development of girls in 3rd through 5th grade. The program’s objective is to reduce the potential display of at-risk activities among its participants. It includes training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. As coaches, we encourage positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development in our participants.
This Fall, Cherokee Choices Mentors will continue Cherokee Elementary Girls on the Run and Swain East Elementary Girls on the Run programs. Please look for new teams forming at Smoky Mountain Elementary & Swain Middle School. For more information on Girls on the Run, visit the WNC Girls on the Run web site at https://www.gotrwnc.org, or call Tara McCoy 497-1976 or Yvette Colmant 497-1978.