Nonprofit on the Rocks - Molly Snow

Season 3, Episode 8

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“We call it P.A.P.Y.D. Physical Activity, Positive Youth Development … It does involve running, running is a great tool for building confidence in girls. But the cooler part in my eyes is that it's accompanied by a social and emotional learning curriculum that is super powerful, really transformational, and really uplifting … And I think that's how a lot of girls, especially now through isolation and all of the craziness of the last two years, are navigating some really difficult times.”

Matt talks to Molly Snow, Executive Director of Girls on the Run Los Angeles, a nonprofit that empowers the next generation of women through sport and mentorship, building confidence and developing social emotional skills that will benefit girls for a lifetime.

The pair discuss the importance of positive self-talk, how executive directors have to wear many hats in order to be successful, and ways to find joy during the pandemic. They also reminisce about the days before social media, when a Texas Instrument calculator was the height of technology.


Matt: 

I truly can't imagine being a kid with social media at all. I have, you know, a ton of friends with kids and nephews and nieces. And like, if I had social media, I'd be in so much trouble. So, your kinds of programs are so important. 

Molly Snow:

Yeah.  I think the reports that are coming out and the studies that are being done on the effects on the brain and maturing and socializing kids, that's really, really scary.

The research is pretty tragic, but now then, you know, enter 2020, and now you're stuck at home. And even though they were taking online classes, it's not all day, it's not the same schedule. And so, everybody amped up their use of social media because you really needed some kind of connection to society, and it wasn't a healthy connection.

It still isn't probably. And so, yeah, I think that having tools like Girls on the Run or other programs that help, especially these ages where you're really starting to form who you are and create your persona and your personality and figure out how you want to contribute to the world. It was really nice to have some guidance besides Tik TOK, because I don't think Tik TOK is actually approved as social and emotional learning.

Matt:

Tell us a little bit more about, the programs that you do. What specifically are you doing to work with your girls?

Molly Snow:

So, the way that the program is structured is it's a 10 week program that happens generally afterschool hours where it made it really easy for girls to just finish up school and head right to girls on the run. It goes for 10 weeks for about 75 minutes, twice a week.

And in each session, a small group of girls, like eight to 15 girls will gather with a trained mentor--we call them coaches. And we really trick the girls into having a great time and in how they learn about themselves and establish these values that we want to hand down. 

So, they meet in these small groups. There is time for physical activity, they're really fun, interactive activities, and there is running. And I'm just going to go ahead and confess about half the girls actually like the running and the other half are doing everything they can to get out of the running. Okay. Yep. But what they all do like is the social exchange part of it. So, the social and emotional curriculum, that allows them this really safe space to explore certain ideas about how they are going through this time period in their life.

And what I mean by that is they talk about things like what makes a good friend, right? When you're trapped in these years, and now you've got social media on top of it, it doesn't hurt to have a little help from somebody thinking through like, well, why do I like that person? Or what does that friend bring to me? And how does that friend better me in my world? 

There are great, great sessions on positive self-talk, which I think is amazing because all of us are programmed to sort of just denounce the things that are great about us, right? We, we want to appear humble or we don't think we're great. And so, learning early on to quiet the voice that tells you all the things that are wrong with you and actually elevate the voice that wants to tell you how you're wonderful and all the traits that you have that are special and unique, how those are, what make you valuable to society.




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