May 2014 Jefferson Award: Lynn Laurence - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

May 2014 Jefferson Award: Lynn Laurence

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There is a program underway in the Northwoods to inspire young girls to become confident women.

It's called Girls on the Run of the Northwoods.

It began in Minocqua ten years ago and the woman who started it all is the May Jefferson Award winner.

“They are learning a lot and at the same time training for a 5K.”

These students from the Minocqua-Hazelhurst Lake Tomahawk Elementary School are members of Girls on the Run of the Northwoods.

“We inspire girls to be joyful, inspired and healthy and give them some tools to get through the tough times of adolescence," said Volunteer Director Lynn Laurence.

Laurence is the group's volunteer coordinator. She first became involved with the nationwide Girls on the Run organization while living in Minnesota.

When she moved to Minocqua a decade a go, she decided to bring the confidence-building lessons to schools in Vilas and Oneida counties.

“The girls learn how to take care of themselves physically emotionally socially and the second set of lessons focuses on how to work together as a team, and the final set of lessons is how to give back to our community."

Volunteers work with the girls after school several times a week, talking and taking part in activities and running.

They show the students positive ways to deal with the challenges of alcohol, drugs, sex and mental health concerns.

Word about the organization has spread.

Wausau, Park Falls and Mercer all of the local areas are inquiring how they can get Girls on the Run at their location.

The 10-week program ends with a 5K fun run.

“The little girls, to see them train for their race and then to see them cross the finish line is what's so special, a lot of hugs to go around."

The 5K run for the girls this year is May 31st in Minocqua and anyone can take part.

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