Written by: Coach Katie O'Malley, UIC Intern
When I learned about my internship requirement for my MPH program, I knew immediately that I wanted to work at an organization focusing on empowering women and promoting health equity. I am so glad to have found this in Girls in the Game.
As one of five girls in my family (six, including my mom), I have grown up surrounded by strong women. We are all different, but we each engaged in sports at a young age, from basketball and soccer to ballet and ice hockey. These experiences taught us perseverance and teamwork and instilled a sense of self-confidence and leadership in all of us. Three out of the five girls own their own businesses and four out of the five have at least one master’s degree. So much of this success and empowerment is due to our involvement in sports and having a sense of community with strong women to look up to as role models.
At Girls in the Game, the mission is to empower girls through sports, health education, and leadership activities. This is important for all girls, but especially for girls who grow up in neighborhoods without access to this type of programming through their school or community. Girls in the Game bridges this gap and provides an opportunity for all girls to engage in sports and leadership and for all girls to have mentorship opportunities.
My favorite part of working at Girls in the Game has been interacting with the girls during the “transition time”. This is the time during programming where we are not actively engaged in the health, leadership or sport curriculum. It could be just before programming begins, when the girls are waiting in the activity space; it could be during a bathroom or water break, or any other small moment that is not actively focused on the activities at hand. While leading activities is loads of fun, the small moments in-between are the ones full of questions and conversations. It is in this time that the girls open up, share their ideas and goals, seek advice about their challenges or fears, and can really relax and be themselves. I’ve found that, after these moments, the girls are able to engage even more fully in the activities and end up having the most fun!