(NORCROSS, GA)—HealthMPowers today announced funding support from American Family Insurance for the Girls Empowering Movement (GEM) program. American Family’s $20,000 commitment will support the new statewide programming aimed at addressing gender disparities seen in girl’s physical activity and fitness levels.
American Family’s support of GEM is part of its nationwide Free to Dream Initiative to help close equity gaps and improve the quality of life for communities. Georgia FitnessGram® data shows only 51% of girls have healthy aerobic capacity in fifth grade. By their senior year in high school, that number drops to 31%. GEM reaches girls in middle school, where the disparity begins to appear and widens as girls get older.
“We are so excited for our new partnership with American Family Insurance,” said Jennifer L. Owens, President, HealthMPowers. “GEM seeks to reach 200,000 girls across Georgia and empower them to get moving and active, all the while building self-esteem, improving mental health and setting the stage for a national example of innovative strategies to encourage physical activity among middle school girls. Support from American Family Insurance is helping us make that possible!”
The GEM program, which launched this fall at 120 sites throughout Georgia, empowers girls to create physical activity programs that are driven by their individual preferences, motivators, and goals. Serving as GEM Ambassadors, girls work together to lead and create programming that is designed by girls, for girls.
Informed by statewide research and pilot programs led by The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation and HealthMPowers, the 5-year GEM project will create a sustainable statewide program model that can be expanded to other states in the future.
“GEM is different because the entire program is designed and led by actual middle school girls from across the state, not just adults,” said 13-year-old GEM leader, Ella Sipe. “We know firsthand what it’s like to be a middle school girl in this busy and stressful generation, therefore we can provide the best plans and ideas.”
“We are proud to support GEM and the inspiring young women who are leading and participating in this program,” said Seth Freeman, American Family brand and marketing experience associate vice president and an Atlanta resident. “GEM epitomizes our belief in opportunity and empowerment for all, and especially our youth. We look forward to its long-lasting positive impact across the state.”
HealthMPower’s GEM program, along with four other Atlanta non-profit organizations, are featured within the “AMFAM Purpose Space” at the Mercedes Benz Stadium. Filled with bold imagery of Atlanta Falcons players and enthusiastic fans, the interactive display promotes AMFAM’s commitment to Atlanta and encourages fans to “Rise Up ATL”. Fans can scan QR codes to cheer on the Falcons and contribute directly to programs like GEM that are making a difference in the local Atlanta community.
Statewide partners in the GEM initiative: HealthMPowers, Boys and Girls Clubs of Georgia, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia and The University of West Georgia, will provide leadership training and physical activity programming to middle school girls across Georgia – empowering them to become change-agents within their communities.
For more information about the Girls Empowering Movement (GEM) program, visit HealthMPowers.org/GEM.