[excerpt from Girls Empowered: A Resource Guide for Integrating Fitness, Academic Support, and Advocacy Training]
In 2015, the New York Community Trust awarded a one year grant to Figure Skating in Harlem, Girls for Gender Equity, and Row New York to create the Girls’ Education, Fitness, and Empowerment Exchange (the Exchange). The Women’s Sports Foundation served as an evaluator and advisor to the Exchange. The purpose of the Exchange was to create a process that facilitated the exchange of information, ideas, and practices that best support the healthy development of girls through fitness, academic support, and advocacy. Through workshops, roundtables, and consultations with each other, staff from the partners engaged in robust and lively discussions and thoughtful inquiry.
The open-exchange of successes and challenges and sharing of suggestions, ideas, and expertise inspired each organization to reflect on their existing practices and identify ways to improve upon what they do based on the exposure to Exchange partners. By the end of the grant period, additional staff trainings had begun to take place and plans for implementing organizational and programmatic changes were developed – all with the goal of helping girls to develop and thrive in schools, in athletics, and in their communities. We are grateful to the New York Community Trust for this rare opportunity to step away from the day to day work and experience this incredibly valuable and collaborative learning process.