College Scholarship

“Beyond Girls on the Run”- The Founder’s College Scholarship Fund

What is the Founder’s Scholarship Fund?

Deb Shultz, the founder of Girls on the Run of Central Illinois, and her family established the Founder’s Scholarship Fund in October of 2013. The purpose of this scholarship fund is to financially assist Girls on the Run of Illinois program alumnae with college or vocational training expenses. The scholarship award is $1,000. The fund is managed by the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln.
Click here for more information on the scholarship qualifications and application process.

2014 Founder’s Scholarship recipient announced

2014 Recipient: Raya Seidman
GOTR Program: 2007 Girls on Track Participant at Lincoln Magnet School, Springfield
High School: Springfield High School
College Plans: Indiana University (Art Management or Jewish Studies)


Raya in Girls on Track, 2007

Raya Seidman, 2014

Raya Seidman, 2014

Raya’s scholarship essay:

How has Girls on the Run’s Vision of embracing joy, health and confidence impacted your life after GOTR?

Girls on the Run has helped me in more ways than I realized. When I began to write this essay I thought of the core values Girls on the Run teaches, and how I really do live my life according to those exact values. Embracing joy, health, and confidence is certainly not easy, but I can honestly say that GOTR helped point me in the right direction at a young, vulnerable age.

I participated in GOTR in sixth grade, and what I remember the most is running laps around Lincoln Magnet School’s playground with the other girls. We would do fun things while running such as collect wrist bands for every lap completed. I realized that it did not matter if I finished first or last, either way I earned a wrist band. That year I ran cross country for LMS. You could say I was one of the slower runners. I was scared to continue running cross country. What if I got last place? What if the older kids talk about me? Well, group discussions during GOTR fixed my problem. Did it matter if I came in last? No, at least I tried, and even finished. Did it matter if the older kids talked about me? No, if they did it just means I should not be friends with them anyway. Turned out I did not get last place at my first race, and everyone cheered for the student that did! I ran cross country from sixth grade through senior year of high school. I was the slowest girl on the team throughout most of high school. Yet, I learned how to make myself a valuable teammate. As my teammates passed me during practice I cheered and encouraged them to “keep up the good work.” Turns out they appreciated my “big heart” and “dedication” towards the team and themselves even though I was not noticed for my running skills. That made all seven seasons of blood, sweat and tears worthwhile.

Another lesson I specifically remember was if you get angry, scream into a pillow, not at a person. Seven years later I preach that same exact lesson to any and all of my friends who are angry. It never fails. GOTR is very adamant when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Running became my “pillow.” If I am mad or upset I go for a run instead of taking my emotions out on a person. Exercise and being healthy from a young age helped shape my emotional lifestyle, and it would never have been this stable without lessons I learned from GOTR.

The lessons GOTR taught me at a young, impressionable age truly helped pave my way to a healthy and happy life. I stand up for what is right, and I am confident about it every time. GOTR changed my life for the better, I am lucky to have had this experience that will forever shape my life in a positive manner.

About the Girls on the Run of Central Illinois Founder

Deb3-150x150Girls on the Run of Central Illinois, a 501(c)3 organization, was established in January 2010, but its foundation began in 2004 when the first Girls on the Run season was hosted in Springfield. With the help of friend, Deb Shultz started the local council as an affiliate with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield, and hosted one site of 13 high-energy girls. Deb volunteered as its Executive Director from 2004-2010, running two program seasons a year and expanding the program to 21 sites. As Board Chair from 2011-2013, Deb assisted  the organization in growing the number of girls served from 250 a year to 1,100+ each year and expanding services to eight additional counties. Deb’s hard work, focus and energy over 10 years created the foundation for Girls on the Run of Central Illinois to thrive and touch many lives for years to come.

Click here for more information on how to support the Founder’s Scholarship Fund.