‘More Than Pink’ program in Austin empowers young girls

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(ABC 6 News) – Over 100 third through sixth-grade girls wrapped up their seven-week summer program ‘More Than Pink’ in Austin on Thursday night with a 5K run.

“It’s to challenge yourself,” 10-year-old Aubrey said.

Girls in the program said their favorite part is running with friends and pushing themselves.

“In the mornings work on their fitness so they do cross training and running and training for their 5K,” one of the More Than Pink coordinators, Sarah Wermager-Hernandez, said.

But the program is not all about the girls’ physical health.

“And then we also do life lessons such as learning about puberty and self-worth and body image and goal setting,” Wermager-Hernandez said.

More Than Pink started in Waconia, Minnesota and other districts began adding it to their programs, including Austin Public Schools.

Wermager-Hernandez and the other program coordinators said they see a ton of growth in the girls throughout the summer.

“They grow physically by challenging themselves and working hard each and every day and pushing past when they want to give up. Emotionally we see them learning really good coping skills. How to deal with really tough situations that they’re going through and then socially we see them finding really good friendships and branching out and having those deeper conversations both with us and then at home when they get home,” Wermager-Hernandez said.

The over 100 girls come from different backgrounds and might be facing different struggles in their lives.

“A lot of the girls come with a lot of different struggles that they’re going through in their life whether it be divorce or family conflicts or they might be in foster care and things like that so it’s a great safe place for them to learn and grow,” Wermager-Hernandez said.

This is the program’s seventh year in Austin and there was a waitlist this summer to join.