CAMDEN, NJ - An all girls running club started by an elementary school teacher in Camden recently caught the attention of comedian Amy Schumer because of their motto… “I run like a girl…keep up!”
After school lets out at KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy in Camden, 25 4th and 5th grade girls stick around to run.
11-year-old Kassandra Deleon and her classmates are all training for a 5k that they’ll be running in Philadelphia at the beginning of June. Deleon told PHL17 Morning News, “I joined this program for after school because usually when I was younger, and growing up, I always got bullied for the way I look and I wanted to make a change and I wanted to make a change to my body.”
So Amanda Geiger recruited Deleon to join the Girls Running Club.
The girls must try out and then final team is selected based on their courage, grit, and kindness…not their running ability.
Geiger says she started the all-girls running club in Newark where she was a teacher 5 years ago.
And this program is about a lot more than just training students for a 5K – it’s about empowering young girls at a time in their lives where they often begin to doubt themselves and their self-worth. Geiger says the club is designed to help these young women build positivity, self-confidence, and a healthy lifestyle.
“I really wanted to create a program that empowered them,” explained Geiger, who made custom t-shirts for her girls. “We had a ‘I run like a girl’ on the back of our t-shirts and then underneath it said ‘Keep up.’ I think that caught a lot of people’s attention!”
It certainly did. Actress Amy Schumer posted a picture of the girls on her Instagram.
Geiger said, “This group of girls is learning that this can be really fun and I think not only is running fun but it's really empowering and I think that they are learning to trust themselves, to believe in themselves, to have confidence in themselves and more than that, they're building some pretty awesome friendships.”
Each girl is also paired with a sponsor who helps pay for the girls new running shoes and race fees, and runs alongside them in the 5k race.
Geiger says she hopes to grow the program to other schools in the Camden area.