Wow, after learning about these women, I am absolutely inspired and impressed! GirlTrek is a nonprofit organization that currently organizes tens of thousands active women and girls to address the health crisis in African American communities.
We chose the as Do Gooders of the week for what they do to encourage fitness and health!
GirlTrek supports and inspires African American women to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives – because their stories, skills and collective efforts will transform the beliefs, traditions and aspirations of their families and inspire healthier communities across the country.
GirlTrek leans heavily on African American history, rich cultural traditions and the institution of the Black Church to make health an extension of the American Civil Rights Movement. We explore the root causes of inactivity, poor diet and disease to find and promote sustainable health solutions.
Why? 80% of black women are currently overweight. Black women are disproportionately affected by and dying from preventable diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. One in two black girls born in 2000 will develop type II Diabetes unless diet and levels of activity change. This is our call to action.
Our current advocacy efforts center on promoting healthy role models through a robust multimedia campaign and making our communities more “walkable” through stewardship of the natural environment, community-building, improvements to infrastructure and support of local health businesses.
About the Founders of GirlTrek
With an active community thousands of women and girls, Vanessa Garrison and Tanya Morgan Dixon are the duo behind the GirlTrek movement.
It started with a routine telephone call. The two women discussed the health challenges facing their families and communities. The conversation ranged from the lack of healthy food options in poor neighborhoods to the influence of hip hop videos on the psyche of teenage girls. The conversation took an unusual turn. “What would Harriet Tubman do?” They considered starting a W.W.H.D. t-shirt company; but after a long and colorful conversation they started GirlTrek, a public health movement and nonprofit organization.
An inaugural team of 25 middle school girls and teachers “trekked” in Bridgeport, Connecticut the first year. They walked nature trails, along rivers and through the streets of their neighborhood.
Understanding that the girls on their team needed more role models, Vanessa and Morgan helped 17 women become “healthy role models”. The women set ambitious fitness goals, worked hard, and told their victory stories to girls through photos, videos and blogs!
The organization was in full swing in 2010. GirlTrek launched a national walking campaign, hosted wellness trainings and supported 25 trek teams – helping over 2000 women in 37 states to live healthier lives.
Mission, Strategy and Philosophy
GirlTrek is a national non-profit that inspires and organizes Black girls and women – whose communities are most at risk – to live healthier and more fulfilled lives.
Walking is our sport. It is low-cost and high impact. Walking can bring groups of women together or can be intensely personal – giving time to reflect on one’s health and ponder choices each day. Walking is also culturally significant; from freedom seekers to boycotters, walking has empowered generations of women. We believe that public health is the next frontier for social activism.
While weight loss is our goal each season, our long-term goal is to inspire girls to develop healthy habits. GirlTrek relies on the stories, photographs and overall leadership of ordinary women to propel that mission.
Find out more about this Do Gooder and join their movement!
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