Girls on the Run Donate $1,600 to Dexter Tornado Relief Fund
Thirty-four girls from Wylie Elementary School helped raise money for the Dexter Tornado Relief Fund through pledges for the Girls on the Run 5K.
Dexter Relief Fund organizers received a welcomed surprise on Thursday, when 34 third and fourth grade students from Wylie Elementary School's Girls on the Run program presented a $1,623 check to help families affected by the March 15 tornado.
Founded in North Carolina in 1996, Girls on the Run is a national nonprofit that teaches girls about positive reinforcement, leadership and self-esteem. And to run at their own pace to stay healthy.
"It's a great program that teaches young girls that it's ok to be yourself," Dexter coach Mara Greatorex said. "We talk about bullying, gossip, peer pressure, healthy nutrition, and how to make an impact in the community."
To that end, Greatorex said Girls on the Run isn’t just about training and running for a 5K. In fact, part of the curriculum asks that each team conducts a community service project.
"Our spring season started on March 15, the day the tornado hit Dexter," she explained. "Several of our girls lived in the neighborhoods that were hit, three of our nine coaches live in Huron Farms and had houses with varying degrees of damage. The girls decided that for their community service project, they wanted to help the families of their friends and teachers."
The girls decided to host a mock 5K run in preparation for the Girls on the Run of Southeast Michigan 5K on May 20. Participants collected pledges from sponsors based on how many miles they could run.
"We received pledges of $1 to $5. The girls did all the work themselves," Greatorex said.
Grace Potter said she was happy "just raising money."
"My mom and dad gave me $25," she said with a smile.
Matt LaFontaine of Lafontaine Chevrolet in Dexter, said he was impressed with the girls' donation.
"It's awesome. What we've seen is a lot of young groups raising money for the relief fund through community projects," he said. "A lot of these kids have friends who live in the areas affected by the storm."
LaFontaine said the Dexter Relief Fund has raised roughly $275,000.
"It's more than we ever expected, and the donations keep coming in," he said. "I guess our new goal is $300,000."
About $100,000 has been distributed to residents, with applications being processed weekly, he said.
For more information about Girls on the Run, visit www.girlsontherunsemi.org. Registration for fall classes begins on June 9.