BETHEL — Coach and 4th grade teacher Heather Zybas will be leading Crescent Elementary School 3rd-5th-grade girls in the Girls on the Run program this season. Girls on the Run is a national program that empowers young girls, teaching them positive self-talk and ways to boost their self-esteem while also having them train to run a 5K. The emphasis is more on how girls talk to themselves and less on the running, but both tied together to boost their confidence.

This will be Coach Zybas fourth year of coaching, with three years at Woodstock Elementary School and her first year with Crescent Elementary School.

The girls participating are taught lessons, such as defining for yourself what is beautiful, and why inner beauty is more important than outer beauty. They also are asked to think about why the world sees outer beauty as more important.

The girls are given magazines and asked, what are these magazines trying to sell you? The 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade girls are well-informed. They say the magazines say if you dress or look or wear a type of make-up, you will have more fun and be more fulfilled. The Girls on the Run program teaches girls, as Coach Zybas explains, it’s okay to wear Maybelline, buy if you don’t have Maybelline if doesn’t mean you’re ugly.

Coach Zybas also explains another key lesson of the Girls on the Run program. She talks about deciding what kind of attitude you’re going to have, how it is your decision. The coaches talk with the girls about self-talk. They have the girls write down some of the negative self-talk they may say to themselves or they may have heard others say.

Then, the coaches match it with a funny noise. They have the girls run to the center of the field and say the negative thought, then the silly noise, and then say turn the negative thought and say a positive thought to counter the negative and make it false. Coach Zybas says she can still hear the children making the funny noise on the playground during recess. However funny it may be, the noise retrains the brain to refocus and think a positive thought.

On November 7th, the girls will finish will a celebratory 5K, which they will have been training to run.

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