Girls on the Run Evans Elementary Fall 2021

Project Details

We love supporting the Evans Elementary Girls on the Run team! For 8 weeks the girls learned about confidence, care and compassion while building character and using running as a tool. The season culminated in a 5K for Memphis’ first Girls on the Run community run! We so appreciate My Keyper for their partnership.

Girls on the Run Memphis recruiting volunteer coaches for 2022 season

Reprinted from the Commercial Appeal – Jan 27, 2022 – By Astrid Kayembe

Girls on the Run Memphis is recruiting volunteer coaches for its spring 2022 season.

GOTR, established in Memphis in 2018, is a nonprofit organization that empowers elementary and middle school-aged girls through a curriculum that incorporates teamwork, self-acceptance and exercise. Leading the way are volunteer coaches who are mentors committed to the holistic development of young girls.

Girls on the Run will bring its programming to girls ages 8-13 in the Mid-South this season, which runs Feb. 28 to May 1.

At Evans Elementary, three coaches — Betty Marrero, Angela Coakley and Erin Thornsberry — have been impacting the lives of 10 girls.

Coakley, a librarian and coach, applied to bring GOTR to Evans in 2020 after seeing its success at another school.

Twice a week for eight weeks, volunteer coaches give girls a safe space to connect with peers, build confidence and stay physically active. As a collective, teams of girls explore different topics related to emotional wellness and participate in activities that empower them to understand and value their physical and mental health.

This school year is especially notable for the Evans coaches and girls alike because it will be first full year that the girls can participate in the program in person. The fall 2020 and spring 2021 seasons took place virtually. Coakley said an in-person season has been exponentially more fulfilling for community building and bonding between students and coaches.

Coakley said she’s been most proud of the air of enthusiasm and the new bonds the girls have formed with coaches and each other, which she saw develop during the fall season.

Ka’Niyah Fortner is a third-grader at Evans who is participating in GOTR with her older sister for the first time. She said the coaches and mentors are supportive in helping her become strong and healthy.

Thornsberry, a physical education teacher and coach, was enthused by Coakley’s idea to bring GOTR to Evans.

For Thornsberry, the most rewarding part of being a coach is allowing girls to get the exposure “where they’re not only focusing on this as our school group, but they’re getting to see there’s a whole community of girls out there and volunteers out there working” at events like the 5K.

“I like to see their excitement and they just look at something that they look forward to not only like all day, but all week and they’re excited and happy,” Thornsberry said.

Coakley recalled an instance of how the program has improved the girls’ motivation from the 5K in November.

“One child, in particular, if I would catch up to her, she would speed up. She didn’t want me to beat her,” Coakley said.

The cost for the entire season is $150 per student, which includes a T-shirt, water bottle, cinch sack, program journal and the 5K entry. Financial assistance is available and the organization emphasized no girl will be turned away for an inability to pay the full amount. Evans Elementary’s GOTR group is funded by the Making it Happen Foundation.

“Access and inclusion are central to all Girls on the Run chapters,” GOTR Memphis Executive Director Joanna Lipman said. “We want to make sure we aren’t missing out on any opportunity to change someone’s life.”

Coach applications are being accepted through Feb. 2 at

Online registration for program participants is available through Feb. 27 at