Hello, my name is Layla Ruiz,
I became a Mini Mermaid when I was in third grade. I was lucky to participate in the program for three years. Thank you to the Mini Mermaid organization for sponsoring our school, because without the sponsorship my classmates and I would not be able to participate. In addition, years later my sister Katelynn also joined the program and participated in the 5K this year.
During the course of Mini Mermaids, I remember having conversations about nutrition, self-care, bullying, building friendships and moving our bodies. I also learned how to listen to my inner voice and how to quiet down those negative things that may hold me back from participating in everyday things. In Mini mermaids, I learned to see myself as someone that can change and participate in my community.
Mini Mermaid has a community component in which Mini Mermaids do service to the community. Landmark school in Watsonville is close to a slough so our head coach Ms. Hitchcock set up a clean-up day and planting of native plants to the slough. It was so much fun to participate in that and help our community.
I have done sports since I was five years old, and running in the Mini Mermaids program made me realize that I could do this and have a lot of fun with friends and family. It has also helped to build my self-confidence in running and in helping others in need. Eventually my confidence helped me to start running cross country and track and field in high school. This year as a freshman in High school, I was able to break 29-year old records and win multiple meets and I was able to represent my high school at the State level in Cross Country. In addition, in track and field, I also broke records, and I was able to help my school win a title.
Overall, by joining the mini mermaids I became a role model to my sister and I think that Mini Mermaids impacts girls in significant ways. This program helps girls like me to dream big and to reach for their goals. Once finishing the program girls are more self-confident, they believe in themselves, they learn nutrition, they learn skills to make friends and stop bullying. Girls learn to move their bodies and finishing the 5k race it’s everyone’s dream as a Mini Mermaid. Girls learn to be active members of their community and most importantly we learn that the finish line is just the beginning.
Thank you Mini Mermaid running club.