July 13, 2009

Attention: This Post Might Offend You

Let's talk serious for a few minutes. First off, I want to say that I love charities. I love helping people and seeing good things done for good people. Unfortunately, events in my life have turned me into a cynic. I don't love as freely as I used to, and I don't believe in the good of people like I used to. A lesson I should've learned WAY earlier in life is that there are many, many bad, selfish, and rude people in the world. Being a good person does not omit you from the cruelty of the world. In fact, it's probably worse b/c nice people are less likely to fight back. Those mean and bad people probably outnumber the good ones, really. It makes me sad to admit that, and for years I refused to acknowledge the harsh truth. Okay, back track to last summer this time. As some of you might remember, I decided to run the Chicago Marathon for Team Tiara, a charity to benefit Girls on the Run. At the time, I also organized a running camp for girls in my town to raise interest in a hopefully future GOTR club. The camp was a hit and I was also able to raise over $500 for Team Tiara. After a few months of work and research, I was able to complete an application to become a GOTR affiliate w/ the YMCA. The people at the YMCA were so supportive of the whole process. They even fronted the $100 application fee. All the while, I assumed if the work was put in, a GOTR chapter would be granted to us. I did everything by the book, the paperwork including statistics about our town, narrative about myself and our goals. I was in contact w/ a very nice lady from GOTR during this whole process and it was never ONCE indicated to me that we might be rejected. I submitted everything by the November deadline and was told that I would receive notification by December 31. At that point, Vivian (person that volunteered to co-lead the program)and I would go to training in North Carolina.

The thing is, we were so excited that we pretty much told everyone about GOTR. By the time December ended and I still hadn't heard anything, I emailed the same lady that had helped me many times before. And... rejection. Yep, flat out rejection. That's the summary of it, but I will continue with my rant below.

I was so shocked. The whole duration of the process, I never imagined that rejection was an option. I thought that as long as you fulfilled the requirements, you were in. After all, the only thing they give you is instructional material. It's not like they were writing checks for a million dollars or taking you to visit The President. Sheez. So, I emailed back and questioned what was happening b/c I was honestly confused by this. Our situation was cookie cutter for what I thought GOTR stood for. We are a small, country town w/ very low incomes. Our kids are out of shape and girls have very few athletic opportunities. Doesn't that scream charity need? There were two reasons given to me for our rejection:
1. I have a full time job and, according to someone that has never met me, I would not be able to handle that job AND GOTR.
2. Our town does not show potential growth for GOTR.

Alright, so... I had Vivian on board that works at the YMCA, totally dedicated to doing anything needed for GOTR. Plus, everyone that's not on welfare in this town has a job. That's what people do in blue collar towns, they work! If they had cared to ask, I am not your average lazy girl. Heck, before we moved here I trained for marathons, coached varsity track, completed a master's degree, AND taught school all day. So there.

The "potential growth" thing is crap. That's a nice way of saying that our town is too redneck and they don't want us spoiling their precious image. I've got news, though. The poor redneck children are the exact ones that need programs like GOTR the most! They are the ones that don't have female role models or athletic opportunities. They don't have soccer moms to drive them around all day in Escalades between tee-ball, ballet, and singing lessons. Heck, they're lucky if their moms comb their hair before they run to catch the bus in the morning.

Alright, I'm really sorry that was so harsh. It's just been a very disappointing 2009. I miss my old see-the-good-in-everything attitude. You hear about people w/ rose colored glasses? Well, I've seemed to have lost mine.

All is not lost, and I am not a quitter. For that reason, I am so proud to say that today was first day of Go, Girl, Go girls' running camp at the YMCA. We had more girls than last year and are making it better than ever! Check back later this week for a newspaper clipping about the camp.

Ps. If you know any of the higher-ups from GOTR, tell them the YMCA wants their $100 back! LOL. Fat chance.

I've got my whole life to change the world and climb the ladders. ~Sugarland


  1. Good to know about GOTR. That would IRK me to no end!!! I'll throw my donation dollars elsewhere. The reasons they gave you were really... bad. So much for the girls' best interests.

    Glad to see you transfer that 'rejection' into something positive though. Go Girl Go!!!

  2. Wow. That is totally unbelievable. It is too bad you cannot go over the head of whoever rejected your application.

  3. Anonymous7/13/2009

    wow. that's incredible (in a totally bad way of course). but it's so inspiring to hear you talk about the go, girl, go camp and that you aren't letting this derail you!

  4. I'm really sorry it played out that way there, and don't even really understand why they said no, as we've expanded to many of our poorest and underserved mountain communities out here with GOTR-we've got close to a third of our girls here on scholarship through the program, and likely to be more this fall with our present unemployment rate.

    I totally understand why you wouldn't want to involve yourself again with GOTR, but I just wanted to say that if you ever change your mind, it might be worth another go because it has reached our most at-risk girls here, and like I said, I'm at a loss for words with what happened along the way where you are. (And I promise that I am not offended in the least-just wanted to share our experience here, in one of the least fit parts of our state).

  5. Rebecca:

    I'm sorry about your personal experience with Girls on the Run.

    I’d be completely open to having a conversation about this! Let’s talk sometime! E-mail me at info@girlsontherun.org.

    Thank you so much,

    Molly Barker
    Founder and Vision Keeper

  6. How dare they diss the Champion of their hometown marathon. I'd be really pissed too if I were you. But, I think a lot of young girls could benefit if you use that unbelievable determination of yours and stick with it and make this happen. I really don't think a reasonable person who took the time to learn about you would reject you again. You just need to get to that reasonable person. As my son would say, "May the Force Be With You!"

  7. hey there, new to your blog. How dissapointing, but I was so happy to read that you took things into your own hands and started that program. What an awesome thing you are doing for your community!

  8. That is really terrible, I'd totally throw you $100 to start your own program!

  9. That is amazing that an organization like this would even have any type of approval/rejection process. I would have assumed the same thing, that as long as you had the paper work filled out and everything it would be a done deal.


  10. You are such a great girl in so many ways. It really amazes me that for someone as raring to get this thing off the ground as you, and who has purely altruistic intentions, they could dare reject it. Big hugs to you for being such a nice person and rising above what they've said you can or can't do. Go LA, Go! :-)

  11. What odd reasons to give for a rejection! One would think they would be so happy that someone was willing to start a new chapter, that a rejection would be reserved only if there were safety/criminal/dire financial issues! I don't blame you for being bummed!

  12. Anonymous7/15/2009


    No offense taken, that is why I am careful in what I choose to support--sorry this happened to you--you have a good heart, keep fighting for those kids!

  13. Nosy Nellie here is wondering if you contacted Molly.

  14. Nosy Nellie,
    Yes, I did email Molly. After I saw her post above I did start feeling a little guilty. I'm trying to justify myself in that I wanted everyone that donated to know what happened w/ my intent to start an organization in my town. I have not heard back from her. No hard feelings on my end, I just hope everyone doesn't think of me as Wendy Whiner.

    Thank you for your support, everyone!

  15. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about and I doubt if anyone who knows you thought this was whining. I know if I were in your shoes, my rant wouldn't have been as nicely put.

    I didn't know exactly why she posted. I was hoping it was in good faith, but I was curious. I felt it would have been pretty easy to find out your contact information and give you a phone call like you deserved.

    I'm glad to hear that you experienced some growth with your program at the YMCA. Great job!

    Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  16. Hey Rebecca. I really don't want to get caught up in conversing with you over your blog, but you indicated in your e-mail to me that no further follow-up was necessary.

    If you'd still like to discuss, I'm totally up for it. That would certainly be a lot more productive and serve as a better example to girls than communicating in this format. Thanks a lot!

    info@girlsontherun.org or 800-901-9965