Girls just want to have fun — for a good cause

By on March 6, 2013

By: REBECCA ROWE Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

The Lincoln Lodge of the Maximus Mormet holds their meetings at The Olde Lincoln House and that is how Gina Leed, restaurant manager, and Nikki Longer, server, became intrigued with forming their own unique organization.

"We started The Sisterhood as a joke. It was just a way to get together and have fun," said Longer.

It didn’t take long for the seven members to decide they should turn their joke into something worthwhile.

"We raise funds for organizations that help women and children," Leed explained.

Now two years old, The Sisterhood has raised more than $2,500 for local charities. Their first fundraiser was a luau and pig roast held at The Olde Lincoln House raising $1,000 for Milagro House and $1,000 for Homes of Hope. Milagro House in Lancaster is committed to providing education, housing and counseling for women and their children experiencing homelessness. Homes of Hope is a church-based ministry of Love Inc. dedicated to offering hope to the homeless of Penn Manor. In addition, they collected donations of diapers and toiletries from guests attending the luau.

"We just get together and see who has a suggestion," said Longer.

On March 24, the Sisterhood is sponsoring a Bowling Bash at Berks Lanes. Proceeds from this fundraiser will go to the Lancaster chapter of Girls On The Run, a program that, according to their website, "inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running."

"My sister is a coach for girls from Brownstown Elementary School who are members of GOTR, and that’s how we learned about the organization. They are so excited that we’re going to be making a donation to them."

"I brought GOTR to Lancaster in Sept. 2009 with 25 brave girls who said yes to our first season," said GOTR executive director, Carrie Johnson. "Since that time, we have positively changed the lives of over 2,500 girls across Lancaster County."

GOTR is a character and youth development program for girls in third to eighth grade that addresses health from a physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual standpoin," continued Johnson. "We do this through a 10-week curriculum that has the girls meeting twice a week, and training for a season-ending 5k, as the girls are experiencing life lessons."

GOTR founder, Molly Barker, coined the term the "girl box" as a place where previously energized and positive girls go when surface qualities become more important than character. The not-enough statements then gain importance, like "I’m not pretty enough, skinny enough, popular enough, smart enough," etc. The GOTR curriculum gives girls the tools to navigate the girl box and lead healthy, bright lives.

"Our coaches are the key to the success of our outcomes thus far," Johnson added. "Coaches are volunteers who dedicate many hours to positively facilitate the curriculum and serve as role models to the girls. We also invite 5k volunteers for our 5k series. We host a race at the end of the fall and spring seasons. Coming up, we will be looking for 5k volunteers for our May 18 5k celebration at F&M College beginning at 9 a.m."

"We invite funders to support our scholarship needs," said Johnson in regards to funding. "On average, 60 percent of girls each season receive full or partial scholarships to offset the registration fee. All girls benefit from the program and there is statistical evidence of significant improvement in self-esteem, attitude towards physical activity and body image. We know we are positively changing lives."

Girls On The Run welcomes sponsors, donors and in-kind giving. Visit gotrlancaster.org to donate on-line or through the mail at P.O. Box 262 Landisville, PA. 17538.

"We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams," said Johnson. "GOTR helps me learn to be the boss of my own brain," said on of the GOTR participants.

To help support GOTR by joining The Sisterhood’s Bowling Bash, there is still time to sign up.

"Last year, at our first Bowling Bash, we raised $500 for the Children’s Library at Ephrata. This year we hope the event will draw even more teams," said Leed.

The cost is $25 per person or $100 per team of up to five people. It also includes three games, beer, soda, pizza, snacks and prizes. The Bowling Bash is from noon until 3 p.m. To register, e-mail Nikki Longer at sslonger@dejazzd.com.

Also coming up this year is a Casino Night being held on Labor Day. The Sisterhood helped Lincoln House bartender, Janelle Camacho, with this function last year, raising $1,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

When it comes to charity, The Sisterhood wants to keep on giving.

"We took a bunch of women who love to have fun, and turned fun into helping out some women and children along the way," said Longer. More GIRLS, page A18

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