The 10th annual Out of the Box luncheon to benefit Girls on the Run of Northwest Arkansas will not be in-person but will be online this year.
Organizers are planning the event to "celebrate our successes, learn more about our program and discuss empowerment during a fireside chat with Walmart's Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer Donna Morris."
Jessica Wurst, GOTR-NWA event planner, tells me: "Girls on the Run of Northwest Arkansas is so much more than a physical activity program. Our program focuses on the social-emotional as well as the physical well-being of our participants. We use a research-based curriculum to strengthen third- through eighth-grade girls social, emotional and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. These critical life skills include managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others and making intentional decisions. "
The group has had to alter its program in many ways in the past year, but Wurst says the need for it has never been stronger. Adaptations have included changing to virtual and small groups adhering strictly to covid-19 guidelines. "The altered programming provided the girls with a much-needed safe space where they are encouraged to speak freely and express themselves. These types of spaces will be vital for children as we navigate the pandemic."
GOTR-NWA provides scholarships for more than 80% of participants, helping serve vulnerable populations in our community -- "the same communities that are being disproportionately hurt by the pandemic," says Wurst. Proceeds from the virtual event will help bolster the group's scholarships and programs.
The virtual gathering is set to include an online auction with experiences from local donors and Inspiration Boxes. Inspiration Boxes are available for purchase and are filled with goodies while select ones contain additional prizes.
Wurst adds that the girls' group is looking for volunteers to serve as coaches and mentors. The group provides coaches with training and support using their curriculum. "We want to ensure that GOTR-NWA remains accessible for all girls in our community so we can help them navigate the challenging emotions that arise and provide a safe space with trained and caring coaches."
A reminder for my nonprofit friends: The deadline for nonprofit organizations who wish to be included in NWA Gives is Monday, March 8. The fourth annual day of online giving is April 8.
According to a news release: "The Northwest Arkansas community is encouraged to support local nonprofits by donating during the 12-hour event, and participating 501(c)3 organizations will be supplied with free fundraising training by the presenting sponsor, the Walton Family Foundation."
Registered nonprofits will also be eligible for prizes. Prize money sponsor First Security Bank is providing $12,000 worth of prizes for this year's event, including $10,000 that will be distributed on April 8 -- every hour on the hour -- through random drawings and contests such as "most inspiring video" and "best social media post."
Find out more at NWAgives.org.
For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected]
At a Glance
Out of the Box Virtual Luncheon
Who: Girls on the Run of Northwest Arkansas
What: The virtual fundraiser will feature a “fireside chat” with Donna Morris, Walmart executive vice president and chief people officer.
When: 11:30 a.m. April 9
Tickets: $35, includes delivered packet and gift card or $300, includes packets and gift cards for 10
Information: (479) 531-4519 or gotrnwa.org