Girls on the Run Maine marked its 10th anniversary with an auction and awards Sneaker Soiree at Halo at The Point on Oct. 20. The event raised nearly $20,000 to support empowerment programs for third- through eighth-grade girls statewide, from South Berwick to Madawaska.

About 150 guests enjoyed the Jason Spooner Band, hors d’oeuvres by Bread & Butter Catering, a silent auction and anniversary cake. Many bought raffle tickets for a camping gear package donated by L.L. Bean or purchased a limited-edition Girls on the Run SeaBag featuring the work of artist Sarah Madeira Day. Fifty shoebox-sized gift-wrapped “mystery boxes” sold for $25 each in under an hour.

“It takes a village to fulfill our mission to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident,” said Executive Director Emily Clark. “Over the past 10 years, more than 2,500 individuals have volunteered in some capacity.”

During that time, over 5,000 Maine girls have completed the evidence-based empowerment curriculum and at least one celebratory 5K.

Board member Sarah Belliveau, like many dedicated supporters, started out as a 5K volunteer. “Watching the girls’ expressions of pride as they came across the finish line together, I was hooked,” Belliveau said. “It was clear that they build strong and deep relationships with the other girls.”

Casie Grady, who teaches fourth grade at Narragansett Elementary School in Gorham, has coached 15 back-to-back fall and spring seasons and led the first Girls on the Run camp in Portland last summer. “I fell in love with being able to help empower the girls,” she said.

Likewise, board member Maggie Poisson, who has been the 5K race director for nine years, said, “Giving back to girls, empowering the future, is what keeps me going.”

The culminating event of the fall season is a 5K at 10 a.m. Sunday at Brunswick Recreation Center, 220 Neptune Drive. The public is invited to cheer on the girls.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at

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