It’s a running club like no other. The girls living at Roy Maas Youth Alternatives are practicing three times a week with a goal to run a five-kilometer race.

The girls are living in the Girlsville cabin at the organization’s Meadowland campus and have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Staff members said they started the running club as both a way to get in shape and help them through tough times.

One of the organizers is Renee Garvens, Executive Director of Community and Donor Relations at Roy Maas Youth Alternatives.

“For me running has been a lifesaver. I know for these girls, it’s been a really great experience of bonding, getting exercise, and feeling themselves getting stronger,” Garvens said.

The woman who thought of the club is program administrator Kasham Laine.

“We used an application called couch to 5k, and basically its an app that takes someone who has zero to no athletic experience, and moves them to where they can finish a 5k,” Laine said.

One of the students said she can already feel the difference the running club has made.

“It helps me to have something to look forward, something that I am achieving. It makes me feel good about myself,” the student said. “It just takes everything else away, all the bad stuff I am going through, it disappears for that moment I am running.”

Their practice will pay off on November 11th when the Meadowland Campus hosts an event called “It’s a New Day 5K”. The race will give the girls a chance to show off their running skills and raise money for the Girlsville cabin.

“It’s going to be a chip-timed race and you will get to see our girls achieve their dream of running a 5k on that day,” Garvens said. “This race supports the Girlsville program and allows them to do all sorts of things like buy new equipment, to be able to go to movies, to go out to dinner. It's basically going to fund their fun for, depending on how much we raise, even years."

Click here if you would like to register for the race. Or you can sponsor or donate to the race fund.