Robbinsville Girls on the Run present thank you notes and survival kits to Sergeant Egan and Officer James of the Robbinsville Police Department. (Photo credit: coach Barbara Porcelli)

Girls participating in Girls on the Run — a nonprofit, youth development program that empowers girls in third to eighth grade through running — recently designed a community impact project to give back to the Robbinsville Police Department.

The Girls on the Run team at Robbinsville Community Park wrote thank you notes and created goodie bags for Robbinsville police officers to show appreciation for their work. The goodie bags were labeled “Survival Kits” and came with a note describing the items, including Life Savers to remind the officers of the times they have saved lives and Smarties to provide wisdom for split second decisions.

The Robbinsville Community Park Girls on the Run team prepares to run the Pacers Princeton Clash Dash 5K. (Photo credit: Pete Kolonia)

Sergeant Egan and Officer James from the Robbinsville Police Department visited the girls, coaches and families during a Girls on the Run session at Robbinsville Community Park. It was a time of sharing and mutual appreciation for the kindness and positive influence all bring to the community.

“[The officers] spoke with the girls in a relaxed way and made them feel comfortable,” coach Barbara Porcelli said in a statement. “The girls shared with the officers the things we learned this season at Girls on the Run and expressed their gratitude to the officers for keeping our community safe. We had a lot of girl power energy going on in this project. Respecting the police officers and being truly appreciative for their service resonated with all of the families.”

Touched by this kind gesture, the officers said the goodie bags lifted them up and put a smile on their faces. They also enjoyed meeting the “future leaders of our community.”

The service project is a critical component of the Girls on the Run program and helps girls develop empathy, leadership and collaboration skills. Girls work with their coaches to plan a project and bring it to completion, showing girls that they are never too young to make a difference in their local communities.

This spring, Girls on the Run will be offered at Robbinsville Community Park and Robbinsville Town Center as well as other towns across Mercer County. To learn more, visit girlsontherunnj.org.