Outdoor Gym Restoration

  • Health
  • Education
  • Youth
  • Women & Gender
  • Albania
This project is led by Carolyn O'Brien, a Volunteer from Michigan

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The goal of the project is to renovate an outdoor sports field in order to make it functional and safe for the 1st-9th grade students at a local school and the greater community. The main goal of this project is to improve the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of the community, especially youth, through participation in regular physical activity. The first objective of this project is to create opportunity for all 228 students from 1st-9th grade to participate in not only traditional sports such as basketball and volleyball but new forms such as aerobics and yoga. A second objective is to engage 10% of women and girls in the community in physical activity 2-3 times per week. The local school recently was selected as a “School as a Community Center”. This title means that the school remains open in the afternoon to the community and having a functional and safe work-out space would empower and encourage the community, especially women, to utilize this community center to improve their wellbeing. Once the funding is received, materials will be purchased and renovations will begin. When the space is functional we will hold an opening ceremony and begin training teachers and various key stakeholders on how to use the new space and equipment as well as new forms of physical activity. We will also hold classes for women and girls on aerobics and yoga. The local municipality, education office, and private businesses have agreed to contribute labor and materials. Creating a safe and functional space for physical activity has the potential to generate an active culture in the community, especially for youth and women.

The sustainability of this project is directly related to the capacity building aspect of this project. By the gym teachers learning how to use the equipment and teaching new forms of physical education they will be able to continue high-quality and innovative PE classes well into the future. They will also be able to train new teachers on the methods that they have learned. By having PE teachers who are trained and motivated, hopefully the culture and priority of PE at the school will improve. Additionally, the students who participate in the PE classes will retain the messages and techniques they learned into adulthood which will create a more active and healthier generation.

Once the women are trained and empowered to participate in new forms of physical activity they can continue classes on their own at the renovated gym. There is the possibility that some of the women will begin teaching their own classes into the future. A broader aspect of sustainability is related to how this gym could change the strict gender roles in the community. Once the community sees that it is normal for women to engage in various forms of physical activity then maybe it could open the door for more possibilities for women in other areas of life.

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