By Brad Sanders, CFP®, CRPC®

Did you know that by age 6 girls believe boys are smarter, and that by the time they turn 9 a girl’s self-confidence has peaked? Were you aware that 50% of girls experience bullying? These are sad facts, but thankfully there are ways to improve the outlook. That’s why I’m thrilled to be part of an organization that is helping girls during a critical time in their development.

The mission of Girls on the Run is to “inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.” This hits close to home for me, as a father of three girls. I’ve served on the Capital Area Girls on the Run board since 2013 and have seen the council’s impact grow tremendously. The council serves over 2,000 girls annually from Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Perry, and parts of Lebanon counties. Since its beginning in 2011, we have helped more than 12,000 girls gain the confidence they need to succeed.

The Girls on the Run research-based curriculum culminates in a 5k run every spring and fall, which is now the largest race series in the country in terms of the number of participants. If you are looking for an inspirational moment, I encourage you to attend a 5k and watch as a girl who never dreamed of living an active lifestyle crosses the finish line. The smiles you see are something you will remember always.

The impact of the program goes far beyond what the research demonstrates. I’ve seen firsthand how a girl can go from a shy outsider on a team to a confident participant with new friends cultivated over the course of one season. Girls from grades 3-8 learn invaluable social and emotional skills that help them navigate their adolescent years and beyond!

For more information about this amazing cause, visit Girls on the Run’s web site. We hope to see you at the next 5k!

Brad SandersBrad Sanders has been a lifelong resident of Central PA. He began in the financial services industry in 2007. Prior to that, he attended St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA where he was also a member of the baseball team. He earned his Certified Financial Planner® certification in 2012 and his Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® designation in 2013.