FLORHAM PARK, NJ — After physically and emotionally preparing over the last 10 weeks, the members of the Livingston chapter of Girls on the Run (GOTR) participated in the culminating 22nd annual Florham Park Jaycees 5K on Saturday.

GOTR, a nonprofit physical activity-based positive youth development program for girls in third through fifth grade, is designed to help participants recognize their power and potential through lessons focusing on personal development, teamwork and contributions to their communities. The program strives to inspire girls to recognize their inner strength and celebrate what makes them one of a kind.

“Girls on the Run gives young girls the necessary tools to be positive, competent, caring, gracious, helpful, confident, open minded members of the community,” said Sue Goldstein, who coached the Livingston team alongside Randi Cohen and Wendy Keyes. “Girls learn to respect others, their diversity and choose to always look for the positive in themselves and others. They learn ways to advocate for themselves, show gratitude to others and to treat everyone as equals.”

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Throughout the program, trained coaches lead small teams through a research-based curriculum, which includes dynamic discussions, activities and learning games that combine with physical activity to instill the value of physical, emotional and spiritual wellness at a young age. According to GOTR, the running is used as a tool to reinforce lesson topics while also helping the young girls develop essential skills to help them navigate their worlds and establish a lifetime appreciation for health and fitness.

“I really like Girls on the Run because it’s a place I can express my feelings and I can talk to everybody,” said fifth-grader Romeela Anand.

Fellow fifth-grader Riddhi Shah said, “I learned how to be a better girl, talk about friendship issues and how to take different approaches to problems.”

Abby Hermann, also a fifth grader, said she learned life skills through this experience, adding the “Girls on the Run helps you get through life.”

GOTR NJ East is an independent council of GOTR International, which has a network of more than 225 councils across 50 states and the District of Columbia. GOTR NJ East was established in 2000 to serve Essex and Union counties and has since grown to include Morris, Mercer and Burlington. The Florham Park Jaycees 5K included GOTR participants from Morris, Essex and Union counties.

For more information and fall registration, visit www.girlsontherun.org.

Pictured above, left to right, with Livingston Girls on the Run are:

(Top row) Helena Drakulich, Abigail Cetta, Riddhi Shah, Zoey Culver, Emily Baltuch, Abby Hermann and Raya Sapherstein;

(Bottom row) Patti Chimenti, Pristine Simon and Makayla Weatherly.

Also participating this season were Arielle Rechter, Romeela Anand, Yuna Chung and Anya Gadhvi

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