(NORCROSS, GA)—HealthMPowers today announced grant funding support from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation for Girls Empowering Movement (GEM). The foundation’s $100K, one-year commitment will support new physical activity programming created by girls, for girls across the state of Georgia, and will greatly enhance GEM’s reach and impact.
The GEM initiative aims to address the gender disparities seen in physical activity levels of Georgia’s children as measured by FitnessGram® data showing 41 percent of eighth grade girls in the Healthy Fitness Zone for heart health, compared to 57 percent of boys. The disparity begins to appear in middle school and widens as girls get older. By the 12th grade, only 31 percent of girls have healthy aerobic capacity.
“We are so grateful to Anthem for their support of the Girls Empowering Movement initiative,” said Jennifer L. Owens, President, HealthMPowers. “Thanks to their generous $100,000 investment, we’re steps closer to making sure we can reach nearly 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.”
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.
The GEM Leadership Team– 14 middle school girls selected from across Georgia, announced the project in a video highlighting the problem. The team is currently underway on an 18-month planning phase and collectively determined the program branding and name.
“Some girls really don’t feel like they’re worth what they really are,” said 13-year-old GEM leader, Ayshiah Frazier. “GEM as the name will make girls understand that they’re worth as much as a diamond.”
“Anthem is committed to improving lives, and creating substantive and sustainable change in our communities. Physical activity is a vital component to achieving whole person health, and through the GEM program, girls will establish positive habits that will serve them the rest of their lives,” said Pam Stahl, President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “The creative spirit of the girls is contagious, and we are so proud to support their efforts through this foundation grant.”
HealthMPowers, together with statewide partner organizations in the GEM initiative: 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 to middle school girls at 120 school and community sites. Trained GEM Ambassadors will lead the development of new physical activity programming and leadership opportunities for their peers – reaching approximately 18,000 girls and empowering them to become change-agents within their communities, motivating middle school girls across the state.
Click here, for more information about the Girls Empowering Movement (GEM) program.
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation
Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s commitment to improving lives and communities. Through strategic partnerships and programs, the Foundation addresses the social drivers that will help create a healthier generation of Americans in communities that the company serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on critical initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more about the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at https://medium.com/anthemfoundation.