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Elks National Foundation Volunteers Get Girls in the Game

by Jenika F.

Inspired by the spirit of the 9/11 National Day of Remembrance and Service, Girls in the Game and the Elks National Foundation hosted a special three-hour Game Day event on September 11, 2009, for 60 girls at St. Gabriel Elementary on Chicago’s southwest side.

“Game Day events are designed to introduce girls of all ages to different sports and fitness activities while teaching leadership, nutrition, and life-skills”, says Ashley Hernandez, Game Day Coordinator for Girls in the Game. “Girls have fun in a supportive all-girl environment and learn to enjoy being healthy and active.”

Building strong communities is not a new concept for the Elks National Foundation (ENF) or Girls in the Game. Knowing how important it is to instill healthy habits at a young age, ENF sponsored the event and members of their Scholar Advisory Board served as guest coaches. College students facilitated activities, teaching girls, ages 8-13, skills in volleyball, yoga, and team building. They also lead a workshop on smoking awareness.

Today, girls in Chicago face many obstacles:

  • According to the Sinai Urban Health Institute, two out of three children in Chicago’s under-resourced neighborhoods are overweight or obese – more than double the national average.
  • Girls who do 15 minutes of moderate physical activity a day reduce their risk of obesity by almost 50 percent.
  • Girls who play sports are less likely to do drugs and have unplanned pregnancies, and they are more likely to get higher test scores and develop self-confidence.

What better time to empower Chicago’s girls.

Girls in the Game, a nonprofit organization, provides and promotes sports and fitness opportunities, nutrition and health education, and leadership development to enhance the overall health and well-being of all girls. Programs for girls and volunteer opportunities for adults are offered year-round.

To learn more about volunteering with Girls in the Game, visit: http://www.girlsinthegame.org/volunteer.  To learn more about the Elks National Foundation, visit: http://www.elks.org.  

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