Q&A with Melissa Belk - GOTR Coach, Donor, and SoleMate


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Q&A with Melissa Belk - GOTR Coach, Donor, and SoleMate

Photo of Coach Melissa and two of the girls she coaches

April is volunteer appreciation month - and we simply couldn't deliver our programs without them! That includes GOTR coach, donor, and SoleMate, Melissa Belk. Melissa is thriving in her third season coaching at Orchard Ridge Elementary, where she is living into her inner fire for running, kids, and expanding acces so that *every* girl can reach her imitless potential and their dreams. This spring, she hopes you will join us at our spring 5K on June 1st to experience the joy and power of Girls on the Run for yourself. Learn more here about ways to enjoy our 5K as a spectator, runner/walker, or volunteer!

Q: How did you first hear about Girls in the Run?

A: I first heard about Girls on the Run from a co-worker, Brittany Gill. She talked about how great of a program it is and how much fun she had being a coach.

Q: How did you decide to become a coach?

A: My youngest went off to college, and I wanted to give back. I love kids... and to run. My conversation with Brittany kept coming to mind, so I started looking into the program. I loved that it’s all about positivity and encouraging girls.

Q: What was it like coaching your first practice? Were you nervous? If so, what helped you overcome that?

A: I met up with my coaching team a week before our first practice. Getting to know them helped with the nerves. The first day of meeting the girls was great… their energy level was intoxicating. About half the girls on the team had been on the team in the fall. They were so willing to share their experience with me! 

Q: How has being a coach influenced or shaped your perspective on mentoring and leadership?

A: The girls watch everything that we do as coaches. They are looking for guidance. I am normally the first coach they see at practice, I make sure to greet each by name with a smile - and, of course, their snack! I show up to every practice with a positive attitude. I try to lead by example.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a coach?

A: My favorite part of coaching is the 5K at the end. All season, the girls struggle and work so hard to get to that point. Many don’t think they will ever be able to complete it; it seems so out of reach for them. When they cross that finish line - and come running with arms outstretched for a hug, screaming, ”I did it Coach!” - it’s worth every moment.

Q: As a SoleMate and donor, can you tell us about a particular project or initiative within Girls in the Run that you are especially passionate about supporting?

A: I am a SoleMate and donor to ensure this program continues for all girls. I am passionate about the scholarship program that GOTR offers making sure all girls have the opportunity to participate.

Q: In what ways do you feel the Girls in the Run program positively impacts the lives of the girls involved?

A: The lessons that we teach really allow open dialogue between girls and with their coaches. Giving the girls a safe, judgment-free space to be themselves is very important.

Q: What do you do outside of Girls on the Run?

A: Outside of coaching, I am a mom of three grown kids, and have a labradoodle and a caring partner. I am a runner and an accountant. I love spending time with my family, being outside, and traveling.

Q: How do you balance your time and commitments as a coach, SoleMate, and donor with other aspects of your life?

A: Coaching has just become part of my life. My partner, family, and friends know that I coach in the fall and spring. It has become normal for all of us. It fits so perfectly with my lifestyle now that we don’t even think about it.

Please join us in thanking Melissa and volunteers everwhere for giving all they do to strengthen our communities! 

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We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Non-profit girl empowerment after-school program for girls.

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