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GO FAR: Youth Running Program Started By Women’s Soccer Players
Members of the High Point University women’s soccer team dedicated their time this spring to work with children at a local elementary school, Johnson Street Global Studies, by installing the GO FAR, or Go Out For A Run, program to get children in kindergarten through second grade into the habit of routine exercise.
GO FAR is an extension of a program used in the upper grades at the elementary school which teaches kids about running and physical fitness and allows them to work as part of a team. Katie Taber, who worked as a student teacher at JSGS and graduated from HPU in May, helped set up the program and brought in freshmen teammates Julia Evans and Melissa Sweredoski to help each week.
“We started the program this year, and it was so inspiring to see how excited the teachers and kids were about it,” said Taber. “I thought that after finishing my time on the women’s soccer team in the fall, there would be a huge void in my life. But GO FAR really helped to fill that since I am still part of a team. Melissa and Julia were able to be a part of it, which furthered displayed what it means to be on a team.”
Children participating in the program met each Thursday to discuss a “Word of the Week,” such as motivation, perseverance or attitude, before going outside to run with their classmates. A member of each class was also recognized each week for best exemplifying the word of the week and had their picture posted on the GO FAR wall.
“When Katie asked me to help out with this program, I had no hesitation,” said Evans. “I was honored to take part, and working with these kids really helped me get through the week. They always say that we keep them going but, honestly, they keep us going. It is so fun to encourage them to worker harder and advance in fitness. They know they can do it, but you’ve got to tell them to keep going, keep running. It’s all so rewarding.”
“It was amazing working with the kids,” adds Swerdoski. “There is such an energy with children, and you feed off that. When you are teaching kids and being around them, there is no better feeling. When they come together as a whole GO FAR team, it is such a great thing to see.”
The GO FAR Program concluded on May 12 when the kids ran a one-mile fun run in downtown High Point at Showplace. Everyone who ran received a medal and certificate for finishing the race.