The Girls On the Run (GOTR) program is an extracurricular activity to encourage positive social and emotional development along with physical fitness. At Prairie, 29 girls (grades 3-5) are energetic and enthusiastic participants on their GOTR team, led by Coach Erin Sauer, the social worker at District 96 Prairie School.
At The Drake Hotel on Apr. 29, GOTR-Chicago presented its Extraordinary Awards in four categories, honoring a community leader, a volunteer, a coach, and one who is leaving a positive legacy. Recipients of Extraordinary Awards are highly regarded as inspirational role models.
This year Ms. Erin Sauer accept the Superstar Award as the outstanding GOTR-Chicago coach.
In 2011, Erin was a new runner, working hard to train for the Chicago Marathon. She recognized the value of the lessons she learned while training and began looking for ways to share that with elementary students with whom she works.
Girls On the Run founder Molly Barker's book Girl On Track proved to be an inspirational resource. In 2012, Erin organized the first Prairie GOTR team. Now in its third season, over 60 girls have benefitted from time with their peers and Coach Sauer, focused on helping girls be healthy and confident.
Erin loves watching her Prairie girls bloom: "It's the little things," she notes, "[like] the way a girl will smile and wave at her teammates in the hallway at school - even though they are in different grades." She sees girls who are reserved open up and run with someone new, widening their circle of friends.
Erin also appreciates her co-coaches and the passion and support they bring to the GOTR experience for the Prairie School 3rd-, 4th-, and 5th-grade participants.
"These beautiful girls teach me, inspire me, and encourage me every single day," declares Coach Sauer. She is among approximately 1000 coaches mentoring 8000 girls.