• April 2013

You Need a Pair of Pink Shoelaces! Here's Why.

By Catherine Keightley
Executive Director
Northern Virginia Chapter of Girls on the Run

When you deliver a program that teaches girls how to embrace their own gifts and gives them the tools to use those gifts to achieve their potential, how do you take it to the next level? You realize that one thing the girls need to fly even higher is the belief that their entire community is supporting them. How do you give them this belief? You start the Pink Shoelace Project, of course!

Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia’s Pink Shoelace Project is meant to create a community of support and encouragement for the girls of Northern Virginia. Just about everywhere you go, you’ll find someone sporting a pair of GOTR NOVA bright pink shoelaces.

  • Girls on the Run coaches are wearing the pink shoelaces to show the girls they care about them.
  • Local businesses are proudly displaying the shoelaces to tell the girls that their community is behind them.
  • Congressman and elected officials are wearing the shoelaces to let the girls know how important they are.

And the girls of Northern Virginia are in on the action too, because their pink shoelaces let the world know that they are on a quest for self-confidence, fitness, well-being, and all around fabulous-ness.

But it doesn’t stop with the pink shoelaces.

Proud supporters of the Pink Shoelace Project are also sending their messages of support to the girls through the Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia social media outlets. Whether it’s a “Way to go, girls,” an “Arlington girls rock,” or a “GOTR NOVA girls have something to say” message, people from all parts of our community are letting the girls know that the pink shoelaces are just the beginning.

They are sending messages of support and encouragement to all the girls in our community, to a girl they know or admire, to a team of girls, or to the whole world through the GOTR NOVA Pink Shoelace Project.

How Does It Work?

GOTR NOVA sends you a free pair of eye-catching pink shoelaces (of course donations are always welcome). You wear your pink shoelaces yourself or ask friends, family, and colleagues to join you. You snap a photo of yourself or your group in your pink shoelaces or get a little more inspired and shoot a quick 10-second video message of support for the girls who are participating in the Girls on the Run program. Write, say, or sing your message; just let the girls know you are there for them.

You share your photos or videos with the girls by emailing them to kmorrison@gotrnova.org or posting them to the Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia Facebook page.

When girls see their families, their neighbors, their school principal, their local hardware store clerk, and their friends wearing pink shoelaces, they know they have the support they need to achieve their dreams. And they get happy seeing all that pink just for them.

About Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia

Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia is a nonprofit organization and the largest independent Council of Girls on the Run International out of more than 200 independent Councils across the United States and Canada. Locally based in Fairfax, VA, our focus is on the girls and families of the eight jurisdictions that compose the Northern Virginia community we serve. We operate at schools in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties, and in the independent cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

Our curriculum-based youth-development program for girls in 3rd through 8th grade is designed to develop and enhance girls’ competencies to successfully navigate life experiences. Trained and supportive coaches and volunteers teach life skills through dynamic, conversation-based lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K running event. The goals of the program are to develop and improve competence, unleash confidence through accomplishment, develop strength of character, learn how to respond to others and oneself with care and compassion, create positive connections with peers and adults, and make a meaningful contribution to your community.

Beyond the almost 8,000 girls we serve every year, we engage more than 800 volunteers each season and partner with a broad list of community leaders and organizations within Northern Virginia:

  • Community Outreach: Let’s Move the Needle on Child Obesity, Northern Virginia Healthy Kids Coalition
  • Health, Evaluation, and Training: George Mason University, INOVA Health Foundation
  • Corporate Partners: UnitedHealthcare, INOVA Health System, Dominion Virginia Power, Running Brooke, UPS, the Verizon Foundation, and many others.

In recent years, there has been a national debate about how to address the issues of childhood obesity and improve the overall health and well-being of our nation’s youth. And issues such as bullying and the impact of the media, and the desire for positive role models have brought into focus the need to develop programs that address these issues head-on. For more than 11 years, we’ve advocated for and delivered programs that focus on fitness, character development, positive reinforcement of each individual child, and of course, fun.

To support NOVA Girls on the Run, get your pair of Pink Shoelaces! Click here for more details.

About Catherine Keightley

Catherine Keightley has been the executive director of Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia for almost four years. During that time, the organization has become known for its use of technology and business processes to expand its impact on the community it serves. Keightley began the first fundraising program in the organization’s history and grew fundraising efforts from nonexistent to nearly $150K per year. The organization has served more than 20,000 girls in the last four years and expanded its operating budget from $650K to $1.4M.

For more information, and to learn how you can get involved with Girls on the Run, send Keightley an email.