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WOMAN OF THE WEEK
24 June Shabana Basij-Rasikh
Power of Programs: Youth Services: Go Girls! and Game On!
Go Girls! and Game On! - Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds
What is Go Girls!/Game On!?
Go Girls! (for girls) and Game On! (for boys) are eight–session group mentoring programs for young people aged 11-14 designed to encourage physical activity, balanced eating choices, and the development of a positive self-image. The programs are facilitated by volunteer mentors and provide young people with the information and support they need to make informed choices about healthy and active living during a particularly challenging stage of development.
Go Girls Research Findings:Numerous evaluations of the Go Girls! program have been conducted on an international and local level and some of the evaluation results from studies conducted in Canada (2003), and in Adelaide (2009) are highlighted below:
• Participants show increases in knowledge, skills and commitment to live healthy active lives
• Participants demonstrate changes in their attitudes about the benefits of healthy foods and made significant changes to their diets
• Participants report a boost in confidence translating in increased engagement socially
• The mentor relationship has a profound impact on participants
Go Girls! and Game On! Objectives:
The main goal of the Go Girls! and Game On! is to develop an appreciation of the benefits of an active, healthy, lifestyle amongst young people aged 11-14. In addition, the program strives to achieve the following key objectives:
1.To support young people in choosing to maintain a healthy active lifestyle;
2. To provide young people with the tools and information they need to choose to lead and maintain a healthy lifestyle;
3. To enhance competence, confidence and self esteem of young people regarding healthy active living; and
4. To build the leadership and life skills all program participants (including volunteers).
A Typical Session:Each Go Girls! and Game On! session will have approximately 10 participants and is structured around the programs three themes:
1. Active living
2. Balanced eating
3. Feeling good about oneself
Active Living and Physical Activity: This component of the program leads each session as the activities are good icebreakers and a way to get program participants to relax. The key learning point of Active Living is that physical activity can be simple, fun, and inexpensive.
Balanced Eating: This coincides with a break half way through the session and includes a selection of “healthy” foods (such as fruit and vegetables), and foods that may be considered “unhealthy” (such as biscuits). The key learning point about food is that young people must east a balanced diet, and eat when their bodies tell them to eat.Positive Self-Image: Many of the activities in this section are discussion activities. The key learning point here is that a healthy lifestyle is always about how we feel internally rather than how we look on the outside. The program builds the critical skills and confidence young people need to improve their self esteem.
Who Are the Mentors and What is Their Role?
Go Girls! and Game On! mentors are:
Young women/men aged between 18-30 years
Enthusiastic, Caring and Energetic
Passionate about healthy living and physical activity
Mentors must interested in providing young people with information and support to make informed lifestyle choices while maintaining sensitivity toward their emotional, social and cultural issues. The mentors facilitate each session during which they will develop trusting relationships with participants and lead them through a process of positive self-reflection. This relationship is an important factor in providing safety.Mentors may need to be available 30 mins - 1hour before leaving the YWCA for a planning session. Therefore, a mentor may need to be available for up to 4 hours for each session (including transport time).
Selecting and Training Mentors:
The Go Girls! / Game On!mentor selection process includes:
- Face to Face Interview
- 3 References
- Police Clearance
- Face to Face Training (10 hours conducted over 2-3 sessions)