FLORHAM PARK, NJ — After physically and emotionally preparing over the last 10 weeks, the members of the West Orange 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, team work and contribution to their communities. The program strives to inspire girls to recognize their inner strength and celebrate what makes them one of a kind.

Esme, who recently completed her second season of Girls on the Run at Nutley’s Yanticaw Park, described the program’s impact.

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“I never liked to run before, but Girls on the Run is helping me understand how to be healthy, so now I can run with my friends, and it’s really fun.”

Increased connection and community impact are natural outgrowths of the program and benefit all involved.

“The relationships my daughter has developed—with her friends in Girls on the Run and her amazing coaches—are such a joy for me to see, and the day of the 5K, it all came together,” said GOTR parent Angie Argabrite. “I’m so grateful for this organization.”

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.

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.

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