Girls Health and Sports Project

  • Health
  • Education
  • Youth
  • Women & Gender
  • Georgia
This project is led by Eric Westerfield, a Volunteer from Virginia

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The primary focus of this project will be increased involvement from girls ages 12-17 in sports and increased health awareness and knowledge from females school. Additional focus will be providing the two female PE teachers with the necessary resources to support female students in physical education. This will be completed through the purchase of sports equipment and trainings for participants and community members. Trainings will be provided to female students, male students, teachers, parents, and community members on the importance of a healthy diet and daily exercise. The purpose of these trainings will be to increase the awareness of students and community members and provide resources for a healthier lifestyle. Our local school will develop the area in front of our school for athletic purposes - this newly prepared area will provide female students with a safe location to be instructed by their two female PE teachers during sports practice and competition. Female and male students will be divided into teams and will practice separately and together once a week. During these practices female and male participants will learn about strength and endurance development and how to work together as a team. The potential impact will be increased opportunity for female students to be active and live a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, this project will impact the perspectives of community members and potentially help them understand that it is important for not only boys, but also for girls to be strong, active, and healthy.

My director, my counterparts, student leaders and I meet multiple times a week to ensure we meet all our weekly and monthly goals. These goals include planning meetings for fundraisers, compiling data from surveys, compiling data to determine what sports equipment is most needed for the school, revising parts of our plans when we have determined that we would be unable to complete that part of the project, discussing gathered information with teachers, students and other members of the community that are involved in the grant project to ensure everyone is kept up to date on progress, and having students plan and implement fundraisers for community contribution. The school director, my counterparts, students and I have been contacting different community organizations including the municipality infrastructure office, the Youth Center, the Library, local Museums, and the local Resource Center. As we continue the planning process, we update each other on the completion of tasks each meeting and set new tasks and goals for the following days. During our meetings each of us discuss the pros and cons of each plan and this has led us to the joint decision to purchase new sports equipment for the students and focus on women's health. Because of the focus of the project, we have included the two female athletic teachers that work at the Public School in the planning and development of the project. These two women have given advice and support on what the female students want and what will be the most effective for their athletic development. We are also involving students through needs assessments surveys. Female and male students have been surveyed on their views of this grant. These surveys have provided necessary information to help the school and community determine exactly what the girls want and what will be most effective for their athletic development. After the completion of this survey for students in grades 7-12, we have determined a large amount of interest in basketball by female students. This interest is significant because female athletes have access to other sports including football and volleyball, but from the survey results have expressed a stronger interest in participating in athletics that involve basketball and being on a basketball team. The surveys provided to the male students had different questions that included asking whether or not they would agree to a more structured athletic environment and having designated spaces for boys, girls, and a mix of both male and female students. The results of the boys survey was very promising and with the participation of the athletic teachers and the support of male athletes, we plan on creating a larger and more equal athletic environment for all students.

The community will sustain the benefits of the project through teacher, student, and community education. From the planned workshops and trainings, the athletic teachers and school staff will have a better understanding of the importance of exercise and this will lead to a more motivated school team. This school already participates in many competitions every school year, but with the completion of this project the school and its students will have added resources to expand the athletic program. Through the support between the athletic teachers, students that are participating on the new sport teams, school staff, and community members, these sport teams and competitions will be sustained. Additionally, the athletic teacher and I will work on creating lesson plans for future trainings and workshops for new students and community members, that they will be able to continue to use after I finish my service. We will work with the athletic teachers and students to ensure that all of the new equipment is well maintained. We plan to have the renovated indoor court accessible to other members of the community, but this access will only be permitted during organized sport events and or other school activities. The physical upkeep up the court will be minimal – it will be cleaned as needed by school staff. Additionally, custodians will be responsible for ensuring that trash and other unrelated items are picked up and removed from the school's indoor court daily. If equipment is damaged, stolen, and or needs to be repaired, this will be the responsibility of the school’s director to resolve. The director may, since we have had large amounts of progress thus far with fundraisers, ask students to conduct a fundraiser to purchase new equipment or make necessary repairs.

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