GO! St. Louis getting kids to focus on compassion, fitness, being well-read

ST. LOUIS – This is the month for fearless fun with ghosts and goblins. So, why not run for fitness and fun with the nonprofit GO! St. Louis?

At the end of the school day, students at Meramec Elementary School in Clayton head to the playground to continue their involvement with “Read, Right and Run.”

It’s a six-month program for K-8th graders at participating schools. Riley, a fourth-grader, likes it.

“I like the reading part of it because it’s not just running,” she said. “It’s reading, righting, running. So, it includes a little bit of school too.”

Next April, the students should be ready for the “Read, Right and Run Marathon.” It is one of the many fitness and running activities promoted by GO! St. Louis.

“The Read, Right and Run Marathon means the students read 26 books. That's how many miles there are in a marathon. They run 26 miles. And righting, do the right thing, is doing 26 good deeds over a six-month period,” said Mona Langenberg, president of GO! St. Louis.

And what good deeds do these students have in mind? It seems third-grader Julliette likes animals.

“I fed my neighbor’s cat and I walked my dog,” she said.

Fourth-grader C.J. is willing to do help with his least favorite chore.

“Somethings I don’t want to do like ... the dishwasher, and also take out the trash,” he said.

“We need to instill good values, we need to encourage literacy, so the program is really well-rounded so that it encourages kids to do all kinds of things that are good for them,” Langenberg said.

Compassionate, fit, and well-read. After the students’ workout is done, it's time for a book and a snack. Fourth-grader Sam describes the book he chose to read for the program.

“Right now, I’m reading ‘The Girl Who Drank the Moon.’ It’s a really good book. But my personal favorite is ‘The Land of Stories,’” he said.

Schools have limited time and limited resources for some physical fitness programs. That is what motivates the folks at GO! St. Louis.

“Everything we do for the community is to really encourage people to find other ways to be active and to add on to everything they’re doing at schools,” said Langenberg.

The mission of GO! St. Louis is to inspire fitness at all ages and abilities. And throughout the year there are race events for youth and adults. But the most festive one is the Halloween Fun Run. It’s a great family event that includes a half marathon, 10k, 5k and Fun Run.

It's a celebration with a twist. The Great GO! St. Louis Halloween Race is October 21; registration is limited to 5,000 participants.