At the Grand Forks Marathon, we love seeing people come together to support and uplift one another in their pursuit for health and happiness. It’s what our event is all about. It comes as no surprise how enthralled we are by the BIO Girls program and their Grafton, ND location for participating in our race!
Established eight years ago, BIO Girls is a self-worth building program for girls in grades 2-6. This exceptional program serves areas across the Midwest and gives young girls tools for improving self-esteem through a combination of life skill lessons, mentoring and physical activity.
There are nearly 30 individual local sites, including Grafton, who participated in the 2018 Grand Forks Marathon and are registered again for 2019! Also close to our home are the Thompson BIO Girls and new locations starting up in Grand Forks and Park River next year. Run solely by volunteers and on a donation basis, these programs feature a variety of activities like CrossFit, yoga and dance camp and, of course, running.
The BIO Girls in Grafton is run by Location Director and local School Counselor, Kristi Olson, along with her team of nine mentors. “Research shows that age 12 is the peak of self-esteem, then there is a drastic drop,” says Olson. “That 2nd to 6th grade mark is the [pivotal time] for teaching these skills, having those conversations of what is healthy for [young girls], what [they] are able to take control over and how do we empower [them] to take control.
Each program is 12 weeks long with weekly meetings at the end of which the participants and volunteers do their physical activity together. The Grafton BIO Girls finish each weekly meeting with a run, starting out with shorter distances and adding each week until they reach a 5K distance.
At the end of the 12-week program, Kristi and her entire group of mentors and girls come to the Grand Forks Marathon on Friday evening to participate in the Alerus 5K. “Their sense of accomplishment and finishing with the 5K, it is so fulfilling,” said Kristi.
Come out to cheer for the Grafton BIO Girls on Friday and all other participants on Saturday during the Grand Forks Marathon weekend!