Spring break and Lauren Powell’s schedule is packed. She’s in charge of running a kid’s day camp – a new, more responsible role for her but Lauren is not one to shun responsibility.
This year, Lauren was recognized by The Province newspaper as a Difference Maker because of Girls Got Game, an innovative program she started for inner city girls. She came up with the idea after attending Motivate Canada’s “Activate BC” program, which gives young people the confidence and skills to go out into their community and inspire their contemporaries to be physically active. Lauren took up the challenge and put together her plan for inner city girls. “I wanted girls to know about the resources they had in their neighbourhood and encourage them to take advantage of those resources,” says Lauren.
Girls Got Game is an eight-week program that introduces girls in the inner city – who wouldn’t have access otherwise – to a whole range of physical activities. Every week they try out a new sport: ice skating, swimming, yoga, basketball and most recently boxing. Each session starts out with a healthy snack, which not only provides energy but also teaches the girls about good nutrition for a healthy life.
The program was made possible with a grant from CLICK. That financial support allowed the program to be free of charge for participants; it covered the cost of weekly nutritious snacks and made it possible to hire guest instructors to provide expert coaching.
Now in her last year of high school, Lauren has put a lot of effort into her studies in the International Baccalaureate program and on the basketball court. As an inner city youth herself, she’s worked hard to succeed at school and in her community – and she’s determined that other girls like her deserve a shot at success.
With so many interests and passions, Lauren is not fixed on a path after high school. The sciences are an option, possibly marine biology. But since her work with Girls Got Game she’s thinking more about a career working with youth.
Whatever Lauren decides, it’s clear that she has created a legacy. She’s confident the youth leaders she has mentored in Girls Got Game can continue to run the program, so inner city girls will continue to have access to sports and get involved in their community for years to come.