Youth development program for females receives grant money to serve Burlington County communities

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Girls on the Run New Jersey East (GOTR) has been awarded grant money to expand its programs in multiple Burlington County communities.

Officials from the organization announced on Jan. 9 that GOTR received a $15,000 KidCents Regional Grant from the Rite Aid Foundation to expand GOTR programming in underserved communities in Burlington County.

GOTR is a non-profit youth development program for girls from third to eighth grade that inspires young females to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that integrates running. GOTR also seeks schools and communities who wish to serve as program hosts.

Burlington County Program Director Melissa Neiheisel-Reuter described the impact of the grant award in a statement and its significance to young women in county communities.

“Burlington County girls are incredibly lucky to have Girls on the Run so close to home,” Reuter said. “I am especially grateful to the Rite Aid Foundation for the opportunity to expand our program in Burlington County to more young girls during their developmental years with the assistance of their grant. I have seen the change in girls from the beginning of this program to the end and know that if we could reach more schools and participants, that parents and girls alike would see the positive transformative potential that Girls on the Run offers.”

The KidCents Regional Grant Program, which provides grants of $15-30,000, funds specific out-of-school time programs focused on children’s nutrition, physical fitness and academic success, according to officials.

The KidCents program also annually supports a select group of more than 400 nonprofit, kid-focused organizations committed to improving the health and wellbeing of children living in the communities Rite Aid serves, as well as national organizations focused on critical children’s issues including The Fred Rogers Company, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Folds of Honor.

In this cycle of KidCents Regional Grants, the Rite Aid Foundation awarded 233 nonprofit grants totaling more than $5 million. Grants were available in select counties in the following states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

“The Rite Aid Foundation is committed to being a caring neighbor and making meaningful differences for the children and families who live in the communities we serve,” said Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. “The Regional Grant Program significantly expands the reach and impact of our KidCents program, while enabling our partner organizations to provide critical out-of-school time programs that are vital to keeping children and adolescents on track for future success.”

Officials explained that KidCents Regional Grants support nonprofit organizations with programs that serve children, grades K-12, and improve quality of life in Rite Aid communities.

The grants are aimed to support three of KidCents’ primary focus areas for improving the health and wellbeing of children: healthy eating, active living and education. To be considered, officials said programs and projects were required to take place during out-of-school-time with priority given to programs that support communities in need.

This is the second cycle of KidCents Regional Grants. In the first cycle, The Rite Aid Foundation awarded 180 grants, totaling more than $4 million.

Another cycle of KidCents Regional Grants will launch this year. To learn more about the program, visit riteaid.com/grants. To bring Girls on the Run to a local community, visit girlsontherunnj.org.