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ALYSSA HERNANDEZ 
President

Alyssa has been an avid runner since 2011 when she decided to run her first marathon, a trail run in Muir Woods, called Stinson Beach Marathon. She did not finish and was actually pulled out of the race by officials due to a fall. That did not stop her, the next day she went home and registered for a popular local marathon, the California International Marathon and completed her first 26.2 miles in Sacramento, CA. She has completed numerous races since and qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2015.

Alyssa joined Fit for Girls as a sole sister in 2012 to help inspire girls to stay active, have self-empowerment and motivation. She has helped 4 girls run their first 5k and began coaching in 2015. Alyssa’s advice to middle school girls is to find themselves and what makes them happy so they can build confidence in everything they do.

The tidbit from Alyssa about Alyssa: The first sport I participated in is Karate for 6 years, where I earned my 1st Degree Black Belt before I was even 12 years old.

AVA YAJIMA
Secretary

Ava’s “ran” her first 5k fairly recently at the Breast Cancer Awareness Run in 2008. Her favorite 5k is the Women’s Fitness Run 5k, which she has run several years in a row with her nieces and friends.

Ava first learned of Fit for Girls through her friend Kellie Haynes, the founder of FFG. When she heard that Kellie’s program focused on issues that affect middle-school girls and trained them for their first 5k, she thought it was such an amazing and ingenious program; She would have loved such a program when she was in middle school! Ava thinks it is important to stay involved in Fit for Girls because this program addresses so many important issues affecting middle school girls, such as positive self-esteem, healthy eating, stress management while also physically training them for their first 5k! Ava’s advice for her middle school self would have been that being an individual is okay, be yourself, you don’t have to be perfect, and try new experiences!

HEATHER BRACKEN
Treasurer / Past Vice President

Heather ran her first 5k on November 20, 1993 (the Davis Turkey Trot) when she was 45 years old. Heather had only started running just 3 months earlier on August 10 when she wrote in her journal – “Run for the 1st time – did a mile easily! I kind of like it!!”  About the 5k she wrote – “I love it!  and do well way beyond my expectations!”  However, she remembers feeling like she was going to toss her cookies when she turned the corner and saw the finish line!  Heather’s favorite 5k is the No Excuses held in William Land Park.

Heather first heard about FFG while running with Kellie Haynes when they were both on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training.  Kellie told her about an idea she had for an after school program for girls that would include training for a 5k and her passion and ideas for this new undertaking was so impressive and touching. Heather stays involved in Fit for Girls because she thinks it is so important that the girls in the program interact with other girls and women and see that one does not have to be an elite athlete to be athletic, healthy mentally and physically and enjoy the comradery of moving with others including and especially while running.

Finally, the one thing Heather wishes someone had told her middle-school self was to ask for help and /or information from people she trusted and respected, that it would not be bothering them to do so.

RAQUEL MARISCAL
Past President

Raquel ran her first 5k when she was in Jr. High, the Bonanza Days 5k, in her hometown of Brewster, WA.  Her favorite 5k is No Excuses because it is super fun and a great event where EVERYONE comes out to do a 5k no matter what level of fitness they are. Raquel loves events that bring people together and help them leave their insecurities behind!

Raquel first learned about Fit for Girls from her dear friend Kellie Haynes…somewhere around Mile 6…or was it 9 on the American River Bike Path. Raquel believes it’s important to stay involved in Fit for Girls because YOU make a difference! If you are reading this, YOU CAN and DO Make a Difference in the lives of each girl who participates in Fit for Girls.

Raquel wishes that someone told her middle schooled self: You are beautiful. You will make a difference in the lives of many people! Your actions will be magnified and judged. Life will not be easy, but will be rewarding when you do the right thing. You will be so much stronger than you think you can be because of the experiences life blesses you with. Embrace Discipline, it will be your best friend and the secret to your success!

The tidbit from Raquel about Raquel: She spent a month exploring China, Tibet and Hong Kong…she almost stayed!

JUDY RHODES
Past Treasurer

Judy’s first race was the Valentine’s Run in February 2004. It was a 4 mile run.  She didn’t know what to expect but was part of Team in Training at the time and had the support of other team members.  It was exciting to her to actually be timed in a race and she had a great time through the entire run.

Judy first heard about Fit for Girls through her good friend, Kellie Haynes, the founder and coach of Fit for Girls.  Judy wanted to get involved because she thought it was great to get girls involved in an activity that would make them feel good and help their self-esteem. Judy believes it is important to stay involved in FFG because there are girls who have heard and seen their schoolmates or older sister complete the program and want to be part of FFG.  It’s exciting to hear from former FFG participants to learn how this program has helped them in high school. Judy wishes someone told her middle-school self to get involved, get active, and enjoy learning new things because you don’t know what you like until you try it!

A tidbit from Judy on Judy: I wasn’t very active growing up, but started later in life and now, I still enjoy staying active by running different races in different cities, and playing golf and tennis.

MEREDITH HIGGINS

Meredith ran her first 5k during college. She first heard of Fit for Girls while on a very early bus ride with Kellie, the founder. Kellie told her all about her idea to create Fit for Girls and she fell in love with the idea immediately.

Meredith believes that middle school is such an important time for young girls. She was blessed with several women who came along and supported her through those years. Meredith believes this is her chance to do the same for other young women. The one thing that Meredith wishes someone told her middle school self is “Meredith, it is important to stay true to yourself and your values even when it is not easy.”

 

MARY COORDT

Mary isn’t sure when she ran her first 5k but it was sometime after college. She thinks the best 5k races are the well-organized events that also raise money for a good cause that further promotes healthy living, such as for schools & children.

Mary first learned of Fit for Girls from Kellie Haynes, the founder and Executive Director of Fit for Girls. Mary was able to help with some nutrition resources and shoe donations. Mary thinks it’s important to stay involved in Fit for Girls because young girls, in our own community, are the future and we need to help encourage fitness, healthy eating and empower them so that they can conquer all challenges and be successful in any endeavor. Mary wishes someone told her middle-school self to believe in her dreams and have the courage to make them come true.

Other tidbits from Mary about Mary: I have volunteered in multiple community programs and this is the most meaningful one that I have been involved in because it makes a significant impact on our local girls and it is sustainable. At first, I thought that going to the workouts, interacting with the girls and running with them would be fun, and it is fun; but it was so much more rewarding than I ever dreamed it would be. Each season, in the course of only 8 to 12 meetings, we watch them develop self-confidence, become closer friends supporting each other AND accomplish the big challenge of crossing the finish line of their first 5k race!