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Girls on the Run 'Huge Success,' Returns this Spring

Registration for the program, which helps young girls grow up while training them to participate in a 5K, starts later this month

A group of volunteer moms who brought Girls on the Run, a non-profit youth development program for girls, to Ramsey last summer, say it was so popular, they will be doubling the program this spring.

Girls on the Run, a national organization which runs for 12-week segments in the fall and spring each year, pairs volunteer coaches with pre-teen girls. Coaches lead the girls through physical, social, emotional and mental development while training them to participate in a 5K.

Before five volunteer moms from Bergen County - Kelly Hasslinger, Merrill Simpson and Karin Murphy from Ramsey, Deanna Schneider from Westwood and Terri Peri from Mahwah - decided to help bring the program here, the closest chapter of the national organization was in Sussex County.

This fall, the women ran one session, which met twice a week at the First Presbyterian Church of Ramsey. It wrapped up in November, with the kids running a 5K at the Sussex County Fairgrounds. Girls from Ramsey and Mahwah were among some of the top finishers at the race.

“Our Fall session [and the 5K were] a huge success,” Perri, an accountant from Mahwah, said. The group is planning two run two sessions of GOTR this spring.

“It’s just a really positive girl program,” Peri said. “You empower these girls to accomplish something they never have before, and you see the change in them happen so quickly. It’s amazing.”

Girls in grades three through five are eligible to sign up. Online registration begins Jan. 21, and the spring sessions begin the first week in March.

Submit your questions or news tips to jessica.mazzola@patch.com. And, remember to sign up for Patch's daily newsletter, and get updates on Facebook and Twitter.

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