Students help girls’ self-esteem

A group of University students will encourage junior high girls to be positive about themselves during the Girls on the Run 5K relay Saturday at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Students in associate professor Laura Choate’s girl’s and women’s wellness class will participate for the first time in a University partnership with the Girls on the Run of Greater Baton Rouge. Choate said she contacted the organization after reading about it, and together they devised the idea for University students coming to support the girls.

Girls on the Run is a 10-week program that visits schools, teaching girls the importance of active, healthy lifestyles and the “joy, happiness and confidence” girls can feel about themselves.

Because students in the class learn about problems affecting women’s health and wellness, Choate said the service learning project acts as a tool that brings classroom instruction to life.

“It’s one thing to sit in our classroom and talk about what girls need to hear, but it’s quite another thing to go out and see [it],” Choate said.

She said girls learn to believe in themselves through the program that counters unrealistic portrayals of women in the media.

“Girls today are just bombarded with unrealistic ideals of how they should look and how they should act,” Choate said.

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