When Jackie Kaminski was growing up in Nebraska, the second
youngest of eight children, she felt lost in the shuffle sometimes ó
especially during her preteen years.
"I was grappling with where I fit in, how to express myself,
why I was feeling those feelings," says Kaminski, a certified
personal trainer and Thiensville resident. "I was lucky to meet
teachers at that time who never gave up on me ó who encouraged me to
set goals and work to accomplish them."
Now Kaminski wants to be just that someone for others. Motivated by
a client whose daughter was struggling with preteen, self-esteem
issues, Kaminski became involved with Girls on the Run, an
international nonprofit organization that helps preteen girls develop
healthy lifestyles through running.
"Girls of every shape and size can run," says Kaminski.
But Girls on the Run isnít just about running. In this 12-week,
after-school course, all aspects of a girlís development are
addressed: physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual
"We discuss topics such as self-respect, listening,
cooperation, reflection, gossiping and bullying. Then we embark on a
gradual path toward running a local 5K race," she says.
As a trainer, Kaminskiís approach is one-on-one ó she strides
alongside her clients, competing in events with them to witness the
change they want to see.
"I envision young girls using fitness as a healthy tool for
lifeís journey ó a way to work through challenges and believe in
themselves throughout their lives," says Kaminski. "If we
take a little time now to work with girls this age, it will pay off in
the long run.
"As for me, I am truly happiest when I can help others,"
concludes Kaminski, whose personal goal is to run a half-marathon in
all 50 states.
Girls on the Run has more than 160 councils across the United
States and Canada, including one in metro Milwaukee via the Nicolet
recreation department in Glendale. In October, Kaminski will compete
in an Ironman triathlon to raise money for the charity running leg of
Girls on the Run. Her goal is to bring the program to Ozaukee County.