Girls on the Run: Empowerment program for girls, 3rd thru 8th grade

At Liberty Heights Park outside of Horace Mann Elementary School in West Allis, this group of fearless girls are members of Girls on the Run

"We are an empowerment program for girls in 3rd through 8th grade," said Tina Jones, executive director of Girls on the Run Southeastern Wisconsin. "We are all about building healthy, strong, confident young girls across Southeast Wisconsin."

Tina Jones

Girls on the Run Southeastern Wisconsin has served over 300 seconds and 15,000 girls all across the area over the last 16 years. That includes serving 2,500 girls during this year's fall and spring seasons. 

Sophia and Sydney Klauck are a part of that sisterhood. 

The sisters joined the Girls on the Run program at Horace Mann last year and this program has stuck with them.

RELATED: Check out the new and improved FOX Sports app

"The biggest thing that they consistently tell me is how it’s really made them feel better about themselves," said Annette Klauk, Sophia and Sydney's mother. "It’s really helped build themselves up. As girls, there’s a lot of negative self-talk. This program’s really taught them to hype themselves up."

Not only are the girls training to run a 5K, which is the culmination of their spring season, but they're also learning some valuable life lessons.

"Today we learned about our happy pace, and happy pace is about going your speed and being okay with your speed," said Sophia Klauk, a member of Girls on the Run Southeastern Wisconsin

"The biggest change I’ve seen is self-doubt," said Annette. "They’ve been really good about talking through it. When one is having a down day, the other one is there to encourage."

The program and their coaches, like Brian Marx, are there to uplift these girls at a crucial time in their lives. 

"It’s great just to see the girls grow, not only physically but emotionally, socially," said Brian Marx, physical education teacher at Horace Mann Elementary. "By the end of this program, they just kind of blossom and become their own person. It’s great to watch that happen."

For the Klauck sisters, this outlet has meant a little more. 

SIGN UP TODAY: Get daily headlines, breaking news emails from FOX6 News

"Sophia was born with cerebral palsy," said Annette. "When she was born, she didn’t have a heartbeat for 14 minutes. They pretty much told us they didn’t know if she was going to make it or not. She’s proving everyone wrong."

"It effects how I walk and run," said Sophia. "I joined Girls on the Run to tell myself that I can do anything and to show myself that."

The impact the program has made on Sophia's life had the sixth grader return to her elementary school as a coach for the younger girls.

She's even trying to get her middle school to have their own Girls on the Run program. 

"My goal in life is to promote Girls on the Run because Girls on the Run is such a great community and everyone should be a part of it," said Sophia.

That's a well-received message.

In May, everyone was a part of the Girls on the Run 5K that took over American Family Field. 

Nearly 5,000 participants, including 1,900 girls and their run buddies came together to cap off their spring season. 

Every girl wore a jersey with the No. 1, to symbolize that no girls finish last. 

"The 5K is truly such a celebration," said Jones. "It’s really all about again, their happy pace and the goals that they’re setting and achieving their own goals."

For the Klauck sisters, their dad ran with Sydney. Their grandfather ran and walked with Sophia. No leg brace was slowing her down. 

"I think it’s really cool because it shows everybody and her that you can do anything you put your mind to, even if it’s hard," said Sydney Klauk, a member of Girls on the Run Southeastern Wisconsin.

Empowerment, perseverance and an unbreakable sisterly bond.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android

Those are definitely practices that are easy to run with. 

"Proud," said Annette. "Proud. They are definitely my heroes. I think I’m a pretty strong woman, but I will forever try to be as strong as they are."

With the spring season now over, Girls on the Run is actively recruiting for their 8-week fall season. That is set to begin the week of September 16. Sites and schools need to register by July 31.

To register, visit