“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.
2016 Founder’s Scholarship recipient announced
2016 Recipient: Anne McAllister
GOTR Program: 2010 Girls on Track Participant at Lincoln Magnet School, Springfield
Anne’s scholarship essay:
How has Girls on the Run’s Vision of embracing joy, health and confidence impacted your life after GOTR?
My name is Anne and at the time I was a sixth grade student at my new middle school Lincoln Magnet. I was shy and felt awkward with my glasses and braces and so unsure of where I belonged. “Do I fit in? Will I make any friends?” When I noticed the sign-up for Girls on the Run (GOTR) I was a bit nervous because I am not into sports and running isn’t my thing. But, the offer to make friends and learn more about myself appealed me to me so I thought, let’s give it try.
Wow! I was amazed. These girls were just like me, unsure of themselves, but we came together to create a team of friendship. I wasn’t the best runner but this group was about gaining confidence, not about competition. I learned it was okay not be first across the finish line and it was okay to finish each lap at my own running pace.
The boost of self-esteem that every preteen girl needs is certainly taught through GOTR. Being a part of the team, allowed us to be ourselves and discuss openly without being judged. Learning how to embrace joy from within taught me how to accept me for me and be proud of who I am.
Being healthy is also important for your growth, your body and your mind. Through GOTR I started to incorporate exercise and healthy habits into my everyday life. This led to me becoming a better student and a happier person.
If you’re looking for a role model there is no one better than Deborah Shultz. Her warm smile made us feel welcomed every time GOTR met. She was our inspiration, individual cheerleader, and she saw something special in each and every one of us. She helped build us up when we didn’t have much confidence in ourselves.
The confidence I gained through the GOTR program helped me to overcome my anxiety and be involved in high school. Freshman year I tried out for my school’s dance team, even though I had zero dance experience, and I made it! I also put myself out there and ran for a position on student council. I have been a dance team member and a student council member for four years. Being a member of both activities has provided me with some of the best experiences of my life.
Girls on the Run helped me to realize that it is okay to step out of your box, believe in yourself, and try something new because you never know what you can achieve until you try. I am heading off to college soon and I plan on obtaining my degree in elementary education. What I learned from Girls on the Run, is to be the best I can be and not allow anyone’s judgment to detour me. That is one of many messages from GOTR that I will definitely share with my future students.
About the Girls on the Run of Central Illinois Founder
Girls 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.