Developing Leaders

Fostering Leadership in Middle School Girls

GEM is developing a network of girl leaders across the state of Georgia. We are working to empower girls through physical activity and programming that provides them with leadership opportunities and access to skill development training.

Over 3,000 girls currently participate in the GEM program at over 100 sites across Georgia. Serving as GEM Ambassador Leaders and GEM Ambassadors, the girls take on leadership roles within their GEM groups and work together to create physical activity and wellness programming that addresses their own preferences, motivators, and goals. Girls receive training in leadership, communication, advocacy, goal-setting, project planning and more.

Girl-Led Physical Activity Programs

The GEM Program puts girls in the driver’s seat to develop lifelong leadership skills and healthy habits. Unlike most physical activity programs, GEM provides girls with the flexibility to create a program that is unique to the girls at each participating GEM site, taking into account their likes, dislikes, personal motivations, and group dynamics. They are guided along the way by an Adult Facilitator and provided training, tools, and resources to successfully implement the program.

Leadership Training

Two girls are selected as GEM Ambassador Leaders to serve at each site. Together with the site Adult Facilitator, they receive in-depth program training, resources, connect with other GEM youth leaders from across the state, and attend the GEM Statewide Leadership Summit.

The learnings are shared with the GEM groups at each site. All girls within the group serve as GEM Ambassadors and have opportunities to build leadership skills: including communication, safety, etiquette, and emotional and physical well-being.

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Over the 5 year program timeline, GEM will provide leadership training to approximately 7,000 girls at 100+ sites, who will create new physical activity and leadership opportunities for a total reach of approximately 18,000 girls statewide.

Improving Heart Health & Emotional Well-being

According to a recent study by the World Health Organization, lack of physical activity in adolescents, particularly girls, is a major cause for concern. In 5th grade, only 51% of girls have healthy aerobic capacity. By grade 12, the number drops to 31%. Regular physical activity has been proven to improve mental and emotional health, and boost performance in school. Through GEM, we help girls create a supportive and safe environment to get moving.

Growing the MOVEment to More Girls

During the “Create A MOVEMENT” phase of the program, GEM Ambassadors work together to create a sustainable GEM Project, with the ultimate goal of getting more girls active, healthy, and excited about physical activity. Together, they plan, develop, and implement a GEM Project to engage others and impact positive change within their community.

GEM Leadership Team

During the planning phase of the program, the GEM Leadership Team was recruited through a statewide application process. The initial team of 14 middle school girls worked together over 18 months to help develop the new program from the ground up.

Together with HealthMPowers staff, the team helped guide the development of peer-to-peer content, provide strategic leadership on the program brand and implementation ─ and received professional development themselves to foster their leadership and growth. The girls collectively decided on the program name and led the creation of the GEM logo. With their leadership and continued involvement, GEM stands out as a unique, youth-led initiative that is driven by the girls own voice and choice.


The number of women holding senior leadership positions globally.


The number of women holding senior leadership positions in the U.S.


Of publicly traded organizations worldwide have no female board members.

GEM is taking a different approach to addressing the disparities in girls health and fitness levels. Unlike other programs, GEM empowers girls to create physical activity and wellness programming that meets their needs

Through strong partnerships and unique programming, GEM is empowering girls to create physical activity programs, improve fitness levels, promote long term health, and enhance their emotional well-being. Your support today will help us continue to deliver innovative youth-led programming to girls across Georgia.