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      Run-a-thon Raises Money for Girls on the Run

      A 24 hour run-a-thon event that started on Saturday was aimed at supporting a YWCA health and wellness program. Several people committed themselves to running one hour on a treadmill and raising at least $150 for the international program called Girls on the Run.

      "I am feeling good. Sweaty, but great," said rundraiser Tallulah Smith.

      Smith is one of the rundraisers who was up for the challenge, since the program is something she holds close to her heart.

      "I came out here today because I am an assistant coach with Girls on the Run. I just joined Girls on the Run to volunteer because I had a kind of difficult childhood. I had issues with bullying and stuff like that. I just know a lot of girls go through issues like that," Smith said.

      Girls on the Run is a 10 week after school program for third to eighth grade girls. The program inspires young girls to be joyful, healthy and confident.

      "Every time we meet with the girls we have a curriculum we follow. So we go over life lessons with them. We will look at how to have a positive self body image. We talk about how to fuel their body at any income level that they are at," said Melissa Baker, Girls on the Run Project Manager.

      The transformational program helps girls with physical and mental fitness.

      "I've been bale to be a coach and its incredible to see on that level the girls at the beginning of the season come out of their shell, they are more confident. They are learning how to be healthier. They are learning how to be more joyful," said Katie Gill Miller, former coach and Health and Wellness Director at YWCA.

      About 120 girls are expected to join the program this fall. Each girl is required to pay a fee, but thanks to the rundraisers about 20 at risk children will be given full scholarships.

      "We have a really strong at risk population and they are the ones that really need this program. So I think by us being able to offer those 18 scholarships it gives someone a chance who wouldn't have had it elsewhere," Baker said.

      The event raised more than $2,000 for Girls on the Run. The program is currently looking for coaches who can volunteer one to three hours a week starting September.

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