Girls on the Run Hampton Roads works to stomp out social isolation

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of extracurricular activities to be canceled or postponed. A local organization is working to make sure young girls’ mental health is not compromised.

Girls on the Run Hampton Roads (GOTR) provides critical needs for young girls through after-school activities to support their emotional and physical well-being.

The pandemic isn’t stopping that. In fact, leaders say it’s more important now than ever.

“This isolation is very troubling,” said Executive Director Ellen Carver. “We have another pandemic and that is the PTSD our children have been through.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced most in-person learning and extracurricular activities to shut down for about a year. Schools had to tap into their creativity. Leaders with Girls on the Run also had to re-invent the wheel.

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“We immediately went to what we call at GOTR ‘at-home virtual curriculum guide,’ so we began mailing lessons to girls, physical activities, little games,” Carver said.

This month, the program is kicking off with weekly virtual meetings and some in-person meetings, with COVID-19 safety precautions in place. Masks are required for outdoor practices for the girls and volunteer coaches. Physical distancing is also enforced.

She said the support they received from the girls and their families throughout the pandemic has been overwhelming.

“What we have, anecdotally, is lots of moms and lots of girls giving us beautiful emails, written notes, text messages thanking our coaches for saving their girls from despair,” she said.

Carver said it may not be too late to sign up for certain teams for the spring semester.

To learn more GOTRHR, click here.

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