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Nonprofits team up to boost social-emotional wellness in Riverside’s girls

Girls on the Run and Big Brothers Big Sisters launch joint summer camp.

A recent collaboration between two prominent local youth organizations delivered a summer camp experience focusing on both physical and emotional well-being for young women. Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire (BBBS) and Girls on the Run Riverside (GOTR) hosted a five-week camp to empower young women through shared experiences and supportive mentorships.

The camp program integrated physical activities with emotional and social skill-building sessions. Designed for a small group of female mentee-mentor pairs within BBBS, the curriculum encouraged confidence, leadership, and kindness – essential traits in helping girls navigate societal pressures that can often result in doubt and uncertainty.

Delia Marin and nine-year-old Jayleen were among the ten pairs selected for the inaugural summer camp. Although they have been a mentoring pair for two years, Marin noted that the camp helped Jayleen build relationships with other participants. During the last day of the camp, which also happened to be Jayleen’s birthday, the mentors and mentees organized a surprise birthday party so Jayleen could celebrate with her new friends.

The Inland Empire Community Foundation (IECF) and Jennifer O’Farrell, Chief External Affairs Officer of BBBS, funded the summer camp. O’Farrell, who was recently awarded IECF’s 2023 Woman of Achievement Award, allocated her $2,500 award to initiate the GOTR partnership. Erin Munro, Executive Director of GOTR, said the partnership “allowed more girls to participate in our transformational programming, setting them up for a lifetime of meaningful connections to help them boldly pursue their dreams.”

Local support has been a cornerstone for these organizations. T3 Fitness, Riverside Road Runners, and Riverside Unified School District have all played a role in sustaining GOTR programs.

“Starting a positive youth development program in January 2020 went differently than planned,” said Munro, “the success and growth of this organization is a true testament to the strong community focus that is genuinely unique to Riverside.”

celebratory 5K is scheduled for November 4th at Poly High School to offer a chance for the community to engage with the program.