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Middle school girls on the move

Arthur M. Blank Foundation

Girls doing pull up exercises

For over a year, Spitfire has partnered with the Arthur M. Blank Foundation (Foundation) and its grantee partners in Atlanta, Georgia to explore ways to motivate and empower 191,000 girls in the Peach State to get moving and close the aerobic capacity gender gap that begins in middle school. Instead of having adults design another program that doesn’t work for today’s girls, the Foundation took an unconventional route: motivate and empower Georgia’s middle school girls to get moving by working with the girls themselves to design a physical education experience that they want to be involved in. 

Using novel research approaches to ground the work, we spoke with national and local experts and listened to what middle school girls were talking about on social media. In addition, in order to ensure that the girls were at the center of this work, we hosted five focus groups across the state where the girls were asked what would motivate and empower them to get moving and tasked with thinking about their dream physical education experience 

Because one physical education experience will not meet the needs of all girls, we worked to understand key challenges and opportunities that different type of girls face today so the Foundation could focus its giving where the money would have the most impact. 

Informed by what we learned in the research phase, Spitfire continues to work with the Foundation, its grantee partners and the girls to develop innovative in-school and out-of-school physical education experiences that get girls excited about moving and all that their bodies are capable of. 

Photo Courtesy of Kate Parker

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Health and wellness

Youth development