As the mother of a 10-year-old girl, Molly Lightfield knows that the pre-teen years can be tough. Girls face bullying, self-esteem issues and challenges communicating with peers, parents and teachers.
Three years ago, Lightfield volunteered to be a coach with Girls on the Run to help her daughter and other girls at Shadow Hills Elementary School learn coping skills and teamwork.
The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. Last year, the program served about 600 girls at 24 sites from Mountain Home to Middleton.
“A lot of people think Girls on the Run is a running club, but that is secondary,” said Lightfield, a nurse at St. Luke’s urgent care clinic in Eagle.
“Girls on the Run is more about teaching young girls to empower them for life. Before junior high … is when they are tested with bullying and peer pressure,” she said. “This gives them the tools to go forward into middle-school years.”
The organization recently received a Select25 grant awarded by SelectHealth, St. Luke’s health plan alliance partner since 2012. Girls on the Run and several organizations have also received grants through the St. Luke’s Community Health Improvement Fund (CHIF) grant program.
SelectHealth’s Select25 program supports organizations that promote health and wellness, assist individuals with special needs, create safe environments and build strong communities. Each year, SelectHealth intends to award $2,500 to 25 winners throughout Idaho and has done so for the past two years. Through the grant program, SelectHealth also supports recipient organizations with videos, photographs, banners and other materials intended to help them share their presence in the community more broadly.
This year’s recipients, recognized at an Aug. 17 lunch reception, are:
Girls on the Run Executive Director Melissa Bixby said she’s thankful for the support from St. Luke’s and SelectHealth.
"As our program grows, more girls wanting to participate are unable to because of financial reasons,” she said. “Partners like SelectHealth allow us to get these girls into our program and start building healthy, confident and joyful girls.
“These girls are the next generation for our communities. When they are healthy, our communities are healthy."
Amy Stahl works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.