We Promote Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, and Healthy Relationships For Girls Ages 8-15 In North Carolina!
Over the past 25 years, the percentage of overweight girls in the United States has more than doubled. Currently, sixteen percent of girls ages 6 to 19 are overweight, up from six percent in 1974. A number of risk factors, such as lack of physical activity and an unhealthy diet, contribute to being overweight. This, in turn, can lead to obesity and related chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death among adults aged 18 years or older. According to the CDC, however, fewer than 1 in 5 girls report participating in at least 6o minutes of physical activity each day.
Helping girls establish healthy habits at a young age is pivotal for thriving later in life. Consistent physical activity and high-quality organized sports can help lower young girls’ risk for becoming overweight. These activities are also gateways to well-rounded achievement, improved chances of attending college, and better overall health. Many young girls, however, face high barriers to participation in structured physical activity programs. These barriers include cultural and gender factors and weak parental support for sports involvement.ii Healthy Girls Save the World provides solutions to these problems.
Healthy Girls Save the World (HGSW) is a non-profit organization providing preventive health education for girls in North Carolina. Healthy Girls Save the World’s mission is to provide education on proper nutrition, the benefits of physical activity, and overall healthy lifestyles so that girls will be knowledgeable and enabled to make healthy choices in their lives. HGSW’s core drivers of overall efficacy are events that the organization hosts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for girls between the ages 8-15. During these events, participants learn about health and wellness, interact with role-models, engage in physical activity, and participate in thought-provoking discourse.
HGSW is a holistic health organization that places great emphasis on physical health. The program centers around providing events that promote three fundamental pillars:
Healthy Bodies: To provide knowledge on proper nutrition, sustainable living, and exposure to physical activity
Healthy Minds: To engage in meaningful discussion and group activities to promote confidence, self-esteem, and good study habits
Healthy Relationships: To implement interactive activities that promotes respect, equality, and effective communication.
During HGSW events, participants meet and engage in physical activity with NCAA Division I student-athletes, hear from nutritionists, fitness instructors, and guest speakers. They also meet and interact with college students who serve as role-models, lead interactive activities to stimulate interaction among participants, dialogue, and reflection on one or all three pillars. Events are integral to the program and they are implemented and executed within one of the three models listed below:
Instructional Events: Event sessions directly target one or more pillars through heavy instruction and volunteer/instructor lead activities.
Exposure Events: Outside events allowing for participant exposure to an element of the three pillars.
Combination Events: Allows for an integration of heavy instruction and exposure events.
HGSW is a little over a year old and the program has already received local and national features and awards! During the Winter of 2011 HGSW was selected to receive funding from the Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This award was offered through the UNC APPLES Service Learning Program. Healthy Girls Save the World was also featured in Carolina Public Health Magazine's Winter 2011 issue.
In April 2012 former President Bill Clinton held the "Clinton Global Initiative University Conference" at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Hundreds of applications illustrating individual commitments to public service are submitted worldwide every year. HGSW was not only invited to attend the conference, but the commitment to expand and sustain the program in other parts of NC was one of only two awards announced at the Public Health Working Session: Making an Impact: The Youth Movement for Global Health.
During the Fall of 2012 Healthy Girls Save the World was selected as the regional award winner for the opening ceremony of the Maya Angelou Center for Health and Wellness in Winston Salem North Carolina. HGSW was also selected as a winner of the North Carolina Campus Compact "Community Impact Award", this award was accompanied by a certificate of appreciation for public service from N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue.
Healthy Girls Save the World was most recently awarded the Kenan-Biddle UNC/Duke Partnership grant and will use the funds to partner with Duke's "Girls Engineering Change".
UNC APPLES Partnership
Healthy Girls Save the World works very closely with the UNC APPLES Service Learning Program at UNC-CH. HGSW is not currently a UNC student organization, however, the program does have a direct partnership with the University through APPLES. The Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship funds HGSW and also allows APPLES to act as a fiscal agent for the program as it seek non-profit status.