Girls in the Game: Empowering Young Girls to Become Gamechangers

Girls in the Game‘s is an organization dedicated to helping every girl to find her voice, discover her strength and lead with confidence through fun and active sports, health and leadership programs. And despite the unusual challenge coronavirus presented to their programming and fundraising tactics – they managed to expand their impact.

Girls in the Game participants enjoy playing lacrosse. Photo courtesy of Girls in the Game.

Girls in the Game ran a series of programs from July 5 through August 14, that were focused on keeping girls healthy during the summer months – especially important in light of Covid-19. Girls ages 7-14 took part in weekly themed sessions including: “Taking Care of Your Mind,” Taking Care of Your Body,” “Supporting Your Community” and “Changing the Game.”

Teen participants acted as guest coaches for some of these program sessions, which gave them hands-on leadership experience and allowed them the chance to act as role models for younger girls. Teens were also able to take part in virtual “Leader to Leader Interviews,” panel-style interviews and discussions with professional women from area companies. These events allowed girls to learn about college and career paths at a critical point in their timeline for making decisions about their own futures. Workshops on resume writing and mindfulness were also included in their sessions.

Girls in the Game have had to pivot their plans to prioritize safety precautions during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo courtesy of Girls in the Game.

Because Girls in the Game is a non-profit, programming is dependent on donations from supporters. And, everyone was impacted by Covid-19. Because of lost revenue due to cancelled events and corporate partners who had been affected by spending freezes and furloughs, Girls in the Game was presented with the challenge of both funding programming and figuring out how to still provide it virtually.

They created the #StayInTheGame campaign to help to bridge the gap. Working with both board members, long-time supporters and program alumni to share their stories of impact, Girls in the Game managed to still raise $20,000.  It was the largest peer-to-peer campaign they have ever done. The money raised allowed them to keep their coaches on staff to lead virtual programming not only through the end of the school year, but also for the summer.

And because they pivoted to online programming,  girls from around the country could take part. Usually, in-person programming is only offered in Chicago, Baltimore and North Texas. Through adversity, they found opportunity – a testament to the program’s values.

Better teamed up with Girls in the Game – who also are one of our Philanthropy Award Winners –  this summer to help amplify their impact. We ran a campaign over social media from the end of June to the end of July, where participants could complete and post up to three Olympic-inspired activities and tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #2020ChicagoOlympics. For each post, Better donated $50 to Girls in the Game.

The team at Girls in the Game is still finding creative and innovative ways to impact girls across the country, despite the continued challenges of Covid-19. They are currently running a Bingo Fit Challenge where participants can purchase a Bingo card for $20 with different health and fitness activities.

Also, now that golf courses are open, their 21st Annual Chip in for Girls Golf Outing will be held at Catigny Golf on September 22. While their mission is to level the playing field for all girls, they want to also draw attention to the reality that young girls of color face systemic challenges that their white peers do not. You can register to sponsor or attend here.

Learn more about Girls in the Game and how to get involved here.

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