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Rising Stars: Meet Alta Franklin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alta Franklin.

Hi Alta, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I am an assistant coach in the Girls on the Run (GOTR) program. My current site is Fox Hill Elementary, in the North Kansas City School District. I have been an assistant coach for the past ten seasons and have been a part of the program since it began there in 2018. I quickly learned and liked the vision and mission of the GOTR program. I was impressed with the focus of its curriculum. I like how it concentrates on the mental and physical well-being of each girl as an individual and as a valuable part of a group, team and community. Important life skills are embedded throughout eight weeks of lessons and trainings in preparation for the 5K run at the end of each season. I enjoy teaching and exhibiting these core values that help build character and prepare girls for lifelong success. One of my main goals is to ensure that each girl knows and feels like she is special and that she can be free to be who she is. The basis of the program is to provide and do activities that encourage girls to be healthy, joyful and confident. The girls learn the core principles such as: communicating effectively, expressing feelings, choosing friends, persistence, setting and achieving goals along with balance, handling failures, making connections, building teamwork, problem-solving, and helping others.

These life skills and character traits will continue to help the girls to be the person they want to be and ultimately answer the questions of “who am I” and “what is my purpose.” The Girls on the Run is a positive and meaningful program that impacts a girl’s life now and in future years to come. Some of the lessons, connections, friendships and relationships you build will last a lifetime. As a coach, I am thankful that the Girls on the Run program allows me to be one of the positive role models and I will continue to aim girls to be true to themselves, be their best and help others. One of my goals is to connect with each girl so that they know they are special important and that they have a place to belong. I truly believe that every girl counts and should be given the opportunity to be part of a program such as Girls on the Run. As a Girl on the Run coach, I am happy to be a part of a program that incorporates a healthy mind and body, along with character traits and service in the community.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I was excited when I initially heard that my school was going to start a Girls on the Run group and I wanted to be a part of it. I was a little hesitant to join because I didn’t think I was athletic enough and I didn’t “love” to run. I researched the program, and after the first visit, I soon found out that it was more than just “running” and being the best athlete. The program is about helping girls be physically, mentally and socially healthier, it is about being the best person you can be. Once my preconceived ideas were dismissed, I was all in and signed up to be an assistant coach. Soon after, I put my creative cap on, laced up my shoes, and got to work, I struggled with a couple of physical problems. The first season, it was plantar fasciitis, the following year it was arthritis and a bunion near my big toe (mainly from being flat-footed). I didn’t want to stop the program, so with supportive shoes, basic treatment, and pain management, I was able to continue. I did not want to use this as an excuse or crutch because I liked what I was doing (in fact, I did not mention this others). I keep running, walking, and moving forward with the girls, season after season, run after run. Along with these mild physical ailments, I had to deal with my own personal fears and peer pressure. I knew I would not look or dress like most of the other coaches and girls. I conquered this idea many years ago, but sometimes it still creeps in. I am not afraid to stand out, to be different and am thankful that Girls on the Run encourages individuality, self-worth, diversity, and acceptance. Celebrating each girl for who they are. I am still overcoming my fear-induced stuttering (which used to happen often) when I had to speak or teach in front of others. Being a part of the Girls on the Run program is an opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone and think outside the box. I am excited to continue to lead by example and be one of the positive role models that our girls need.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a paraprofessional in the North Kansas School district and have worked in the Special Education program for the past 19 years. This program includes supporting and assisting students that have intellectual disabilities and or multiple health concerns or needs with their independent educational plans. Currently, I am at Rising Hill Elementary. I enjoy helping, developing and watching students grow, achieve, and reach their goals. In doing this, there are challenging moments but rewarding times. I am thankful to be a part of the students learning process and to be able to have an impact on the lives of the students and families I serve. I concentrate on building positive relationships and creating trust, respect and dignity. I show that I care, then teach what I know. Meeting basic needs is an important focus. I am usually ready and willing with an extra ear, hand or encouraging word when needed. I specialize in making others feel special, welcomed and important. I believe that sharing and giving my time, energy and resources is one way to let others know that they are valuable, needed and useful. I am most comfortable with staying in the background, working behind the scenes and watching others reach their full potential. One of the main reasons I like being a Girls on the Run Coach is because it ties perfectly into what I do on a day-to-day basis. This same dedication and commitment spills over into my Faith, Family and Community life as well. I am an active member in our church, married for 32 years and have three children (now adults). For the past 21 years, I have participated in the NKCSD Youth Friends program and a church mentorship program. It brings me great joy and pleasure to see a former student or girl on the run be successful, achieve their dreams and give to their community. It is nice when they come back and remember the good ole days.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
For those that are just starting out or thinking about starting or joining a Girls on the Run program, I would encourage you to go for it! Be yourself, have fun and realize that you are investing in the lives of others that will have a great impact on their future. As a coach or other volunteer, you are helping to build relationships, create connections and foster self-worth and value. It is important to remember the basics of character building and remember how it feels to be a nine-, ten-, eleven- or twelve-year-old girl. In fact, if I had learned some of these life skills in elementary school, I would not have the same struggles in High School. In the future, I plan to share more experiences, accomplishments and especially struggles with the girls because, I believe, they want the coaches to be realistic, they want to be able to identify with us more. Starting out, I wish I had known more classroom management skills and how to motivate girls more who seem to have given up or no longer want to be a part of the program. Not being afraid to ask for help and share responsibilities. The same values we are teaching the girls also apply to us, the coaches and other volunteers. Take care of yourself first, then help others. I suggest we look up, look in and then look out to be effective and accomplish our goals as well.


  • $185 Registration Fee for Girls
  • Scholarships based on household size and income are available to all participants

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