In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health impacts in our communities are acute. During this challenging time, the Fargo, North Dakota, based BIO Girls program is finding its programming more essential than ever to ensure the health and wellbeing of adolescent girls in our region.
To support BIO Girls in the opening of a new program in Detroit Lakes, Lake Region Electric Cooperative (LREC) recently awarded the organization $2,150 through the co-op’s Operation Round Up program. This grant was made possible because of LREC members and employees who opt into the voluntary charitable fundraising program.
“Research has shown that girls’ mental health in particular is really struggling during the pandemic,” says Betsy Stadick, BIO Girls program operations manager. “This support from Lake Region Electric Cooperative is key as we are bringing BIO Girls to a new community. We are so grateful for this help.”
BIO Girls focuses on improving the self-esteem of adolescent girls (ages 7-12) through empowerment of self and service to others. BIO Girls, ‘Beautiful Inside and Out’, is a 12-week program combining life-skills curriculum, small-group mentoring, community service, and physical activity in a positive, inclusive environment. As part of the program, girls will prepare for and run a 5K at the end of the season.
Due to uncertainty as a result of COVID-19, exact meeting times and location haven’t been set yet for the Detroit Lakes group. However, the plan is to have a BIO Girls program in Detroit Lakes in 2021, with more details about registration coming in the spring.
The Detroit Lakes program will be led by volunteer site director, Kari Swoboda, a local school guidance counselor. Swoboda is currently working on fundraising, recruiting volunteers, and planning the program and logistics. In addition to the volunteer site director, each local program requires a minimum of 10 adult volunteers to run weekly small groups and help the group.
The Operation Round Up grant funds will be used to sponsor 10 girls for the Detroit Lakes BIO Girls program. BIO Girls currently has approximately 50 program locations, spread throughout five states in the Midwest. Stadick reports that last year, over 600 volunteers offered their time and talents to make the program a success.
To learn more about BIO Girls, or ways you can support the organization, visit biogirls.org.