LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Last fall, the University of Kentucky started the "Girls Can" program to encourage young girls to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.
"We see disparities with physical activities between girls and boys as early as that preschool age group. So, girls are less active as early as the preschool years all the way through adulthood. That can have lifelong implications for health and wellness," said Dr. Dee Dlugonski with UK's Sports Medicine Research Institute.
The program is free for girls from kindergarten to the eighth grade. It consists of group events focused on different sports, activities, and opportunities to learn from female UK athletes and alumni.
When the pandemic hit, organizers had to continue achieving their goal without holding in-person events. This year, the program provided the girls with gear, like hula hoops, and held virtual sessions over Zoom.
Kita Carver enjoys seeing her six-year-old daughter Gabby take advantage of the opportunity.
"I just think that it's amazing for her at such a young age, because she's only six years old, to be exposed to this," said Carver. "It is so good her being able to see other female mentors and role models that are active and participating in sports."
Gabby has learned new activities like softball and cheerleading. She also gets her mom to be active with her, which is another goal of the program.
"Being social is another way to encourage people to engage in physical activity," said Dlugonski. "So, we're trying to build that community for girls in our program."
The program will host a 'Frosty Fitness Challenge' in December, and organizers are planning the spring calendar now. Families can register at any time online.