Company strengthens commitment to the development – and future – of youth nationwide
Erica DePina from Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester receives one of 50 national scholarships
BOSTON (August 3, 2022) – Planet Fitness, one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers with more members than any other fitness brand, today announced it has awarded Erica DePina from Dorchester, Mass., with a $5,000 scholarship. This award was granted for her inspiring efforts to create a kinder world for today’s youth as part of the company’s Judgement Free Generation® philanthropic initiative, which aims to prevent bullying and promote kindness in their communities. DePina is set to attend Rutgers University-New Brunswick this fall.
In partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Planet Fitness has awarded $250,000 in scholarships this year – contributing to a grand total of $900,000 in scholarships recognizing 170 youth since 2017. Planet Fitness created this scholarship program to recognize the many teens who continue to promote kindness, acceptance and inclusion in their communities, qualities that Planet Fitness and Boys & Girls Clubs of America collectively support.
Applications were submitted from Boys & Girls Clubs of America teens throughout the country and the scholarship recipients were awarded based on a personal essay, staff recommendation and video submission, all representing how they demonstrate and perpetuate values of kindness, acceptance and respect.
DePina’s winning submission outlined how a Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester staff member in the early education department saw how she could calm a frustrated child and make them feel safe and heard, pulling her aside to say, “this is what you’re supposed to do.” DePina now plans to study cognition science with a minor in psychology; she says her experiences with the Boys & Girls Clubs early education program inspired her to learn more about autism and psychology to help others.
“It’s a privilege not only to continue our scholarship program this year, but to recognize and award 50 inspiring teens who are making a positive impact on today’s world,” said Chris Rondeau, Planet Fitness’ Chief Executive Officer. “With all that youth have been through over the past few years, it’s inspirational to see how these scholarship recipients have committed to themselves, their peers and their communities. As home of the Judgement Free Zone®, Planet Fitness is excited to watch these changemakers continue to lead by example and build a more welcoming tomorrow.”
“We are thrilled to honor teens who are furthering our mission to provide inclusive spaces for young people to thrive and be themselves,” said Jim Clark, president & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Boys & Girls Clubs of America is committed to enhancing the lives of every kid and teen that walks through our doors, and we couldn’t be more excited to award these scholarships, with the support of our partners at Planet Fitness.”
Since 2016, together with its franchisees, members and partners, Planet Fitness has contributed more than $7 million to support anti-bullying, pro-kindness initiatives. As part of the program, the Company has funded first-of-its-kind social-emotional skills training for Boys & Girls Clubs of America professionals and youth, which is rooted in a trauma-informed approach to acknowledge the impacts of traumatic experiences on youth behavior while providing opportunities for growth. The Company has also engaged in volunteer efforts and built welcoming gym spaces known as Mini Judgement Free Zones in select Boys & Girls Clubs of America throughout the country.
Learn more about Planet Fitness’ efforts to positively impact the communities where people live, work and workout through PF Purpose.
Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.
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