By Alissa Bridges

Girls at Stowers Elementary School are taking advantage of a program that offers them the opportunity to exercise, train for a 5k and discuss important issues over a 12- week period. All of this is offered through the school’s Girls on the Run program.

Stacey Underwood and Megan Majka brought the Girls on the Run program to Stowers after first setting up the program at Mintz Elementary School in Brandon.

“Stacy, who is the head coach at Stowers, brought the program to Hillsborough County with Frameworks (then Ophelia Project). She first started Girls on the Run at Mintz and I became involved with the group there,” said Majka. “When we moved to Stowers, it was a tradition that we continued.”

Each session is led by trained female coaches that guide and mentor girls through the fun and uplifting curriculum. Lessons include topics to enable girls to effectively problem solve and remain strong during adolescence. Lessons include dealing with body image and the media, resisting peer pressure, making healthy decisions and contributing to the community. At the end of the 12 weeks, the girls run in a 5k race.

Although the program at Stowers is currently open to Stowers students only, Majka said those interested to contact Frameworks and encourage Frameworks to open another school site in the area.

“The program really is wonderful. Parents should encourage their daughters to get involved because it is a program that builds self-esteem and healthy habits, both emotionally and physically. It also offers girls a chance to build meaningful friendships,” said Majka.

Girls on the Run is a 501 (c) 3 youth development foundation and has been in the Tampa area since 2007. The local council is hosted by the nonprofit organization Frameworks of Tampa Bay, whose mission is to advance the positive social and emotional development of youth ages 8-18. Girls on the Run of Southern Tampa Bay serves girls in Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.

To learn more about Girls on the Run and the local affiliate sponsor Frameworks of Tampa Bay, visit and


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