A girl’s physical activity initiative associated with the University of West Georgia College of Education’s (COE) Wolf Wellness Lab is being funded by the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation (AFYF) for its part in the implementation and sustainability of the new program, Girls Empowering Movement (GEM).
The lab has received $591,000 to impact the West Georgia region as a part of the overarching $5 million collaborative. This has been the largest grant given by AFYF in history.
GEM’s mission is to increase physical activity and fitness levels of Georgia’s middle school girls and motivate 200,000 of them to get moving and engage their communities by taking action to implement physical activity programs that are designed “by girls, for girls.”
“It is an honor and a privilege to be funded by such a renowned philanthropic organization,” said Dr. Peter Stoepker, principal investigator and assistant professor in COE’s Department of Sport Management, Wellness and Physical Education. “We are excited to be partnering with them, as well as other organizations across the state of Georgia.”
The Wolf Wellness Lab (along with partners HealthMPowers, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, and the Georgia Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs) will promote physical activity programming in 10 middle schools across the region. In addition, there will be mentoring opportunities for undergraduate students as well.
This is a four-year project. The first year, Phase One, will include the development of partnerships with neighboring schools. Applications submitted by middle school girls will be chosen as physical activity leaders.
“We believe the future is really bright for this program,” Stoepker concluded. “With our lab expertise, as well as newly developed partnerships across the state, new resources will be provided to help reserve current physical activity trends and to promote healthy behaviors.”