This October, we are honored to feature Elaine Chang, the Liaison at George Fleming Place Low Income Housing Institute as our Girl Hero.
In the heart of the Othello neighborhood, George Fleming Place opened its doors in just 2021. The 7-story building houses 106 affordable housing units ranging from studios to three-bedroom condos. A large population of the residents in the housing complex is Afghan refugee families.
Our council had the unique opportunity this Summer to partner with George Fleming Place and Elaine as a Site Liaison to create a week-long session of Camp GOTR for the residents at George Fleming. The camp was inspirational and impactful in the lives of the participants, many of which had just moved to America in the past calendar year.
When asked about her experience with GOTR, Elaine says,
"As a volunteer sponsor for a family of Afghan refugees, I was collecting furniture donations for them from my friend Wendy Goffe (a GOTR Coach and runner) and learned about the life-changing potential of this program. It was easy to see how GOTR could cross cultures, and help the Afghan girls learn about physical and emotional well-being, form friendships, and reduce their isolation. Thanks to a generous gift from actor Anna Faris, it became possible to bring the GOTR summer day camp to George Fleming Place apartments, where many Afghan refugee families live. The camp week was so successful that we can now offer the school-year program, retain some of the same coaches and most Afghan girls, and even see extra English practice and tutoring opportunities emerge."
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work further with Elaine and George Fleming Place, providing the community with our traditional afterschool GOTR program this Fall. Elaine has done tremendous work to make Girls on the Run accessible to every girl in the building. From going door to door to collect registrations, helping spread the word about the program, and assisting families in the registration process to receive shoes, hijabs, and scholarships for the program. Elaine truly makes GOTR possible!
Participants at George Fleming Place feel the impact that Girls on the Run has had in their every day life. GOTR Girl Diana's family shares some of her favorite parts about GOTR, "She loves the games that they play in GOTR and she is excited for running around Othello Park and knows she is going to do that well. And she also feels good as an interpreter. She had learned how to communicate with older or younger people as a friend or coach".
Girls on the Run looks forward to many more years of partnership with Elaine and more GOTR seasons in the future. Thank you for all you do to bring Girls on the Run to your community, Elaine!