By YVETTE COLMANT
Tia Panther is a smart and cautious fourth grade student at Swain East Elementary School. She is a member of Girls on the Run, and has participated in two sessions. She entered her first session much like someone would enter an unfamiliar swimming pool, testing out the temperature first to make sure she wanted to join, and then after one session, she jumped right in. Tia rarely misses a Girls on the Run session, and she always has a good attitude and works really hard. Being ever so cautious during her first season, she observed and didn’t speak up much.
Girls on the Run has been a wonderful experience. Her mother, Diane stated, “Before joining GOTR, Tia was extremely bashful and did not engage in conversation with anyone she did not know. Now, she can sometimes be quite a chatterbox. GOTR has been a wonderful experience for her. Her self-confidence is increasing. She is encouraged to better herself and enjoys participating. The activities and exercises are fun and she looks forward to attending the sessions.”
Tia has made positive life style changes since joining GOTR. Her mother commented, “Tia is more active, chooses healthy foods over junk foods. She has also become very aware of her eating habits and has made a healthy habit of choosing water and 1% milk over soda. She now makes healthy food choices and limits her snacking. She will also choose fruit or vegetables over chips or cookies.”
Tia has blossomed socially. Her mother stated, “She is beginning to let go of my hand and attempt things on her own. GOTR has assisted us in getting Tia to realize she is wonderful just as she is. She also now understands that you have to put forth an effort to attain your goals.”
Tia is wonderful just the way she is! Her team wrote on her name poster describing Tia as amazing, smart, fun girl that is a good friend. Tia’s second season has been different; she now speaks her mind and shares. Her coach has noticed so much growth and explains it as Tia has blossomed into a beautiful social butterfly!
Tia has great support from her family, at her first 5K celebration; she had seven running buddies to come out to support her in Asheville all the way from Cherokee.
Girls on the Run is an internationally recognized non-profit program focused on the development of girls. 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 spring, Cherokee Choices Mentors will continue to coach the Cherokee Elementary Girls on the Run and the Swain East Elementary Girls on the Run Programs. 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.