On Saturday, October 3, after weeks of training with YWCA personal trainers and fitness staff, more than 100 youth from the YWCA Girls Inc. Eureka! and Strong Fast Fit programs came out to the State Capitol on a beautiful, crisp fall morning to participate in the Twin Cities 5K and Diana Pierce Family Mile. Many racers ran with parents and siblings, demonstrating the value of fitness for the whole family.
Girls Inc. Eureka! is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) based approach to engaging and empowering 8th-12th grade girls in a cohort model over five years so they see themselves as going to college and becoming vital members of the future workforce. The program includes STEM education, leadership and personal development, sports and swimming lessons.
“It’s amazing to have so many girls this year; it’s the largest group of girls YWCA Girls Inc. has ever brought to the race. Having the personal trainers from the YWCA help the girls prepare definitely gave them the skills and confidence to do their best 5K.” Angie Kilcher, YWCA Girls Inc. Lead Youth Counselor
After spending several weeks training for these events, all of the youth expressed a sense of accomplishment. “When you finish, you feel so happy, accomplished and rewarded.” Eden, Eureka! Program participant
Strong Fast Fit is a culturally specific youth development program working towards eliminating health disparities in the Latino, Native American and Hmong communities. It focuses on nutrition education and engaging in physical activity. Young people are empowered to live a healthy and active lifestyle by experiencing how fitness activities can be fun along with sports and learning how to make healthy food choices.
The YWCA of Minneapolis weaves Health and Wellness into all programs, creating fitness opportunities and removing barriers so that urban youth can become more active. “This is the first year we’ve invited Strong Fast Fit alumni to participate in the race, and we’re happy that several alumni came out to race!” Ellen Cleary, Community Impact Director
The Twin Cities 5K and Diana Pierce Family Mile are one of three race events that youth participate in throughout the year to help promote the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle. Youth also participate in two other Twin Cities in Motion events: a winter track meet and a spring cross country race.
The races were part of the Medtronic Twin Cities in Motion Marathon weekend of activities. The YWCA of Minneapolis is a Youth Fitness Partner of Twin Cities in Motion. Through this partnership, children and youth took part in the race events and received professional training and quality running shoes to support their fitness goals. YWCA personal trainers work with the youth year-round to provide running coaching to help train participants for the race events.
As part of the partnership, the YWCA has exclusive race entries for runners who wish to participate and raise money to support our youth running programs. This year, eight runners in the 10 Mile and Marathon races fundraised $3,070 to support YWCA programming.