So many non-profits are having to cancel their spring fundraising events. Often a major source of revenue, the cancellation or change of these events are hitting our non-profit community hard. They are having to come up with new and unique ways to fundraise, and transition their in-person events to online platforms.
BIO Girls (BIO = Beautiful Inside and Out) originally had planned their annual “Find Your 5k” race for May 16th, and are now taking their efforts online for a Virtual 5k. Rather than cancel the fundraiser, Founder Missy Berg Heilman decided to transform their event and encourage the community to rally together and run together (even if it’s just in spirit).
I took the time to interview Missy about the mission and history of BIO Girls, as well as talk to a Site Director and BIO girl herself. I hope their story inspires you to take part in the Virtual 5k on May 16th! (Register by May 6th!)
Missy Berg Heilman, BIO Girls Founder
How did BIO Girls come to be?
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
What are the future plans for BIO Girls?
Any words of wisdom or inspiration you can give a young lady?
What is the most challenging part of running a non-profit?
Melanie Holsen, Site Director
How did you become a part of BIO Girls?
My oldest daughter Emma was a BIO Girl at the Olivet site. I heard about this amazing program through a good friend who’s daughter was in it. I thought, “WOW, a program designed just for girls that teaches them that they are each unique in their own way. A program that will teach these young girls to stand up for that she believes in and that failing is ok.” Once my oldest daughter aged out of the program she became a Jr. Mentor for Trinity- Moorhead. It’s been nice to see her blossom into a very kind-hearted young lady.
I’ve also had a set triplet girls go through the program, with one of them still in it today. The other two had some conflicts with other activities, or they would be in it again as well. It’s so rewarding to watch my little ladies take in all that BIO Girls has to offer.
I am a mom of 4 girls. I want my girls to know their self-worth, have confidence and the social skills to navigate through friend issues and bullying. I want them to understand and cope with feelings of stress, anxiety and nervousness and take healthy risks. Watching this all unfold in front of me made me want to take that extra step and step out of my very own comfort zone and take on a site of my own.
What is the driving force for you as a Site Director?
I want every girl to know their self worth, I want to be a positive role model for girls. I want to be the listening ear to help a girl work through her feelings or issues verses bottling them up. I want to be the biggest cheerleader for each girl as they accomplish BIG or SMALL goals, or even is she fails. I don’t want girls to view failure as a road block but rather as a motivation to get back up and try again. I want to be a CHANGE-MAKER for our girls.
What is the main role of a Site Director?
- To be passionate about the mission and work towards accomplishing our mission locally.
- Raise enough funds to cover the $4,000 program fee for a site location.
- Select an appropriate location for the site based on number of participants and safety.
- SECURE VOLUNTEERS. The success of BIO Girls is directly related to the ability of your mentors to relate to young girls. Mentors must be willing to commit to attending the 12 weekly sessions and running the 5K race with their group.
- Select a local service project for your site to take part in halfway through your season.
- REPRESENT BIO GIRLS WITH INTEGRITY AND RESPECT THE PROCESS.
- BE A CHANGE-MAKER.
How have your girls responded to the program?
I have seen huge growth with my own girls. I have seen them stick up for others who are being bullied. I have noticed that they are more confident in their own values. I have seen them take risks I couldn’t imagine them doing, but to my surprise they did. They have more confidence in themselves and trust their gut that they are making the best decision or choice.
I have received many complements about my girls from others. I believe a lot of it stems from parenting but also from BIO Girls. BIO Girls gave my girls the extra push they needed to really believe in themselves and to take those healthy risks.
As a Site Director I have heard such powerful feed back from parents about how this program has really helped their BIO Girl come out of her shell, or stand up to someone that is being a bully. I love hearing the positive feed back the parents give us about their BIO Girl.
Addison, BIO Girls Participant
What has been the best part of BIO Girls for you?
Running outside and getting to do the workouts outside. I like to lay the rocks outside for others to find. (As the session goes on, the BIO Girls can lay rocks with specials sayings or pictures on them for others to find to brighten their day.)
What do you like about the group sessions?
I like to work in the small groups, talking to each other and getting to know about each other. The large group allows us to know more about each other, as well. I know a few people in this group now, but I want to get to know even more!
Do you plan to be a junior mentor after this year, since this is the last year as a BIO Girl?
I want to! I would like to continue to help with my mom (the site director) and continue to help support BIO Girls at Trinity Lutheran. (BIO Girls have the opportunity to be a Junior Mentor after they have surpassed 6th grade.)
What are your goals for the Virtual 5k?
I would like to run most of it and not walk as much this year. I have a few friends that I want to get involved in the race, too, since they play a lot of sports and I think it would be good for them!