Volunteering for a healthier generation of young women

Robin G. Curry, M.D., champions nonprofit Girls on the Run

Robin G. Curry, M.D., always wanted to be a doctor — and always loved sports. She discovered running during middle school basketball practice and soon realized she was a better runner than basketball player. She competed in cross-country in high school and continued running recreationally during college. When she learned of Girls on the Run, she volunteered as an assistant coach.

Girls on the Run is a nonprofit organization that focuses on inspiring girls to recognize their inner strength and celebrating what makes them one of a kind. Trained coaches lead small teams through a 10-week curriculum that includes discussions, activities and running games.

Girls on the Run Louisville’s current council began in 2010 with three teams and now has more than 50. During the 10 weeks, girls in third through eighth grade develop skills to grow into healthy adults — physically and emotionally. The program culminates with a community service project and a celebratory 5k running event.

When Dr. Curry decided to pursue primary care practice, she chose to focus on sports health. While running is a component of Girls on the Run, Dr. Curry emphasized that girls should not feel intimidated by that part of the program. The program is for girls of all shapes and sizes, athletic or not. Dr. Curry says it’s about knowing you can do anything you put your mind to.

“The running is a part of it, but the program is really about discovering you can really do anything you want to do,” she said. “You have support, and you have no limitations. You may not be fast; you don’t have to be fast to do it. Anyone can do a 5k if you stick with it and be confident that you can do things even if they’re hard. Anything is possible.”

It’s not just about running

It was Girls on the Run’s focus on resiliency, in addition to helping girls develop healthy habits toward exercise that initially made Dr. Curry want to volunteer.

“It’s not just about running,” she said. “It helps them face social issues by promoting self-worth and positive self-talk. During the Norton-sponsored midway event, they held a discussion about how to handle things in your personal life and to not use negative self-talk. When I was a girl, no one was teaching me that.”

As Dr. Curry’s life shifted to include being a practicing physician and new mother, her schedule didn’t allow for her to continue as a coach. She then served as a board member and recently completed her three-year term. She is committed to the organization as it grows — you’ll see her in charge of the medical tent for the 5k event on May 12. She will continue working on the 5k committee and handle any medical needs for future race days.

As for her three young daughters, Dr. Curry says they will all participate in Girls on the Run.

“They will do it whether they want to or not,” she laughed. “I want them to be joyful and confident.”