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Girls Gain Confidence Through Shoes and Running

Girls Gain Confidence Through Shoes and Running
Coach Dawn Staley signs autographs for students.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- It may not have been as loud as Colonial Life Arena but the students at Conder Elementary were just as excited to see Coach Dawn Staley on Thursday.

"I have never met anyone famous like her," said 5th grade student Heaven Aguilar-Helgeson.

Heaven was just one of the students that participated in Girls on the Run, a physically active after school program that helps teach girls through interactive lessons and running games.

"It helped me gain self esteem and let me know that I can do almost anything," according to Heaven.

About three dozen students at the school participated, but all of them could not afford a new pair of running shoes, but thanks to Coach Staley's Innersole program that all changed for eleven girls.

"A lot time we don't see it because we are exchanging with counselors and the student's nurses, but when you are able to actually interact with the kids that benefit from the new sneakers it is always a wonderful feeling," said USC women's basketball coach Dawn Staley.

Coach Staley knows something as simple as a new pair of shoes can take these girls much further than the miles they'll ever log in them.

"Girls on the Run is an organization that promotes their well-being, their self confidence, their self esteem, and anytime you can raise those levels, they are going to be successful," according to Coach Staley.

Now thanks to Girls on the Run and Innersole the girls that ran at Conder Elementary will be better prepared for life and running.

"You can get physically fit and you enjoy it," Heaven concluded.

Girls on the run started in 1996 in Charlotte to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident through a curriculum with running.

The program now serves over 130,000 girls in over 200 cities across North America.

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