A recent study shows the average American girl's self-esteem peaks at age nine … and then plummets. Diminishing confidence makes every hurdle – in friendships, school, and home life – more difficult. But each year, Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia teaches 5,000 girls in grades 3-8 that they are strong, healthy, and ready for any challenge. At 150 sites (including 19 Title 1 schools), trained volunteer coaches lead girls through a 10-week season of interactive lessons and running clinics. The research-based curriculum addresses the “whole girl,” inspiring healthy habits and choices that impact emotional and social well-being, as well as physical health. A take-home guide helps parents reinforce positive messages and initiate important conversations. And at the culminating, region-wide 5K fun run, families cheer for the girls from the sidelines – or even run beside them. Regardless of background or income level, girls emerge from the program more likely to engage in exercise, and with higher self-esteem. A track record of 50,000 runners in 15 years is beyond impressive. Let’s keep it going strong.