(NORCROSS, GA)—NORCROSS, GA)— Today, on National Girls and Women in Sports Day, HealthMPowers announced $124,992 in funding support from The Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network (GSAN) and the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE). The funds awarded will support the launch of the Girls Empowering Movement (GEM) program at schools throughout the state. Funding from the American Rescue Plan is being made available through the Building Opportunities in Out-of-School Time (BOOST) Grant.
“Thank you to the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network (GSAN) and the Georgia Department of Education,” said Jennifer L. Owens, President and CEO, HealthMPowers. “I am thrilled for this opportunity to expand our out-of-school time programs. The benefits of afterschool programs are numerous, and their impact can be profound. Our programs build leadership skills and increase opportunities for youth to improve physical, mental and social health, all of which are interconnected for healthful living and learning acceleration.”
Designed by girls, for girls, GEM is a statewide program to improve the physical and social-emotional health of Georgia’s middle school girls by empowering them to become change agents in their schools and communities. The youth-led and developed GEM program will help middle school girls build leadership skills, get moving and active while connecting with peers to improve their health, well-being and ensure they are ready to learn.
The five-year GEM program is a unique collaboration among some of the state’s leading youth development organizations. HealthMPowers together with Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, Boys and Girls Clubs of Georgia, and the University of West Georgia, have joined forces to implement this one-of-a-kind program to address the decline in physical activity levels as girls reach middle school and the resulting outcomes to physical and mental health.
With BOOST Grant funding, HealthMPowers and the University of West Georgia will support GEM groups at 49 schools, serving over 1,200 girls. Participants will receive leadership training, program materials, online resources, and program support. GEM provides girls with safe environments to engage in structured enrichment activities and physical activity opportunities, learn social-emotional skills and build trusting relationships with others. Certified teachers serving as facilitators for the program receive training to help girls effectively develop their leadership, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
BOOST grantees are awarded funds based on several key criteria, including program type, the number of students served annually, and the percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch. BOOST funding is projected to support over 160,000 Georgia youth at more than 2,500 program sites across the state. As a grantee, HealthMPowers can renew BOOST funding for two additional years.