HELENA — For Drew Gustovich, a 13-year-old Helena girl, spending a little more than two years at Girls Thrive has helped her gain confidence.
“(Girls Thrive) just helped me see the world better, and I have a lot more friends there,” Gustovich said. “I‘m a lot more confident with myself.”
Girls Thrive is a non-profit organization that pushes young women to be confident, strong and community-driven through sports and lessons volunteer coaches in the organization teach.
Drew’s father, Doug Gustovich, echoed his daughter’s sentiment, saying the coaches at Girls Thrive have been exceptional role models for girls like his daughter.
“The confidence is definitely a huge factor and she’s gained a lot of it through Girls Thrive, just being together, and through the togetherness of the program,” Doug said. “Blair (Haseman) is one of the coaches there and she’s just an amazing role model for any kid. … (Christine) Thennis, who started (Girls Thrive), she’s just a great person and a great role model, also.”
In Drew’s case, Girls Thrive has also been a factor in her athletic ability, primarily running. On June 15, Lewis and Clark Brewery hosted its second annual Run to the Brewery 5K race, an event where part of the proceeds go to Girls Thrive. In the two years the brewery has put on the race, Drew has won her age bracket.
Blair Haseman, the Executive Director of Girls Thrive, said Drew’s success is excellent and the reason they teach sports like running is because it’s a skill that will last a lifetime.
“Its all about body, mind and spirit development in every segment of their life,” said Haseman. “We try and teach the girls lifetime sports, that these are things that they can do when they’re 80 — go walking on the trail, mountain biking if they’re willing to, Pilates, rock climbing, yoga. You name it, we do it.”
Prior to the 2019 Run to the Brewery 5K, Drew ran in the 2019 Governor’s Cup. Through training with Girls Thrive she’s hoping to run in longer races in the future.
“Since we’ve been training at Girls Thrive and everything, I feel like I‘m ready to run the 10K next year,” Drew said.
For more information on Girls Thrive, please click here.