Reading books and spending time with siblings, normal things. That’s what Sumaiya did after school. Then Sumaiya found Girls on the Run Ottawa. After her first practice, she felt energetic and ran home to tell her mom all about it. And after that, she didn’t stop running. Sumaiya remembers learning about positive self-talk: “One time we were doing meditation and thinking about how to take ‘I’m not good enough or I can’t do this’ and make it ‘I can do this’”. This changed the way she talked to herself and others. Positive self-talk was one of the first lessons that gave Sumaiya her confidence. Confidence is key for girls of Sumaiya’s age. It’s important to find a sense of self and confidently go out into the world. “Girls my age go through a lot of emotional, traumatic things – especially going into middle school.” Sumaiya uses her found confidence and positive self-image to support her friends and classmates. Reading books and spending time with siblings, normal things. That’s what Sumaiya did after school. Then Sumaiya found Girls on the Run Ottawa.
Sumaiya believes it’s important to know who you are. “Before Girls on the Run, I didn’t wear the hijab. Now I know who I am and who I want to be”. She proudly wears her hijab, which showcases her newly found self-confidence. The 5K marks the end of the program and gives girls an opportunity to showcase their progress. “All my friends, teachers, principal, and coaches cheered me on”. Members of the community also joined to show support. “It made me feel confident like I can do this”. Sumaiya had been waiting for this moment since her first session. To this day, Sumaiya continues to run. “It’s a matter of consistency and showing up and being there. That’s half the job. The other half is giving it your best.” Her mother added that showing up and giving your best is better when surrounded by supportive friends – and more fun! Sumaiya found her “spark that lit the pathway”. Next time you see Sumaiya she will be a doctor, a scientist, or an artist, running to achieve her goals.