Girls on the Run isn’t just about training and running for a 5K. In fact, part of the curriculum asks that each team conducts a community service project. In turn, teams with extra hard work and creativity are honored with the Koman Award for Excellence in Community Service. There were a record number of entries this year, and Sunset Hills’ took third place.
The St. Justin team of 16, plus five volunteer moms, chose “ Angel’s Arms” as the beneficiary of their community service project. The team made the Angel’s Arms’ foster home beautiful by raising money to buy flowers and landscaping supplies. They prepared beds, weeded and planted flowers for the new facility—they just moved in about three weeks ago.
Angel’s Arms’ mantra is: “Simply put, every child who enters an Angel’s Arms home is welcomed with open arms and gets to experience the joy of being part of a family.”
Angie Burgess, volunteer mom and coach of the GOTR team, said that she went into the Sunset Hills and they were excited and unbelievably helpful for the service project.
“The garden manager, John Wicham, generously donated some plants and flowers, an Beth Hutson from Masterpiece Flower Company consulted and helped me with the landscaping/flower layout for the foster home yard,” Burgess said. “Their employees spent quite a bit of time helping us select appropriate flowers/landscaping for the conditions.”
The team also had a Gus’ pretzel sale and raised $164 for the foster home. Burgess said that she and the team wanted to make a difference in the children’s lives.
“We chose to make their home beautiful by raising money for flowers and landscaping,” she said. “Our hope was simply they would feel warm and welcomed at their new home.”
Burgess, a runner herself and a mother of three girls, said that this is the first year for a team at St. Justin.
“We were trying to find something special—a different kind of service project,” she said. “My sister was a case worker for the state and the dysfunction those kids endure, it makes us grateful for what we had growing up.”
And as for the race? The team started the 20-week session on President’s Day weekend, preparing for last weekend's 5K in downtown St. Louis. Burgess is proud of all of her girls—they all finished strong.