First Federal Foundation Non-Profit Highlight


Building Confidence and Community: Girls on the Run


A family friend notices an improved attitude. A teacher sees improved confidence. A girl proves to herself that she can achieve her goals.

These few examples highlight the positive impact of Girls on the Run Southern Idaho across the Magic Valley and surrounding counties. Under Executive Director Teressa Johnson, the youth-serving charity integrates running with experiential lessons, teaching life skills such as confidence, empathy, and conflict resolution to girls in 3rd-5th grades, with a parallel program, Heart & Sole, for 6th-8th graders.

“We use running as a medium for teaching,” explains Teressa. “The girls are learning how to be kind to themselves first, recognize their own inner voice, and express their emotions in a healthy way.”

Girls of any ability can join either program, experiencing growth through small running goals over an eight-week season, culminating in a 5K run. The journey includes community service and lessons on kindness, resilience, and inclusion.

The transformation is evident to coaches, parents, and the girls’ social network. Improved confidence, better classroom participation and the joy of forming new friendships are just some common outcomes.

Like many youth-serving nonprofits, Teressa relies on dedicated volunteers to serve girls and personally manages every aspect of each program. That was becoming a struggle with outdated technology and tools.

Late last year, Teressa applied for a grant from the First Federal Foundation, known for actively supporting local educational, civic, and cultural initiatives in the community. To date, the First Federal Foundation has awarded more than $1.4 million to community causes.

The grant they received enabled new technology purchases, enhancing program delivery and outreach. “I’m so grateful for the support as it helps us achieve our mission,” says Teressa. “It’s allowed me to serve the volunteers and families better through improved communication and organization.”

Thanks to community support and improved resources, Girls on the Run Southern Idaho aims to inspire more local girls, helping them find their strengths and potential.

“Girls are getting out of it what they need - whether that’s confidence, activity, or friendships,” notes Teressa.

If you want to learn more about Girls on the Run or provide support, go to www.gotrsouthernidaho.org.

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