Rowing Program Helps Teenage Girls Get Fit and Build Confidence (San Francisco Bay Area)

Community initiative to increase participation in youth sports

Dates of Program: January 1999 to August 2006

Field of Work: Reducing substance abuse and improving the health and safety of children

Synopsis of the Work: After School: Connecting Children at Risk With Responsible Adults to Help Reduce Youth Substance Abuse and Other Health-Compromising Behaviors was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that helped develop intermediary organizations in Boston, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area in order to create citywide systems of after-school programs.

Story Told: About 25 girls from public high schools in Oakland, Calif., most with no previous experience in sports, learn how to row and compete statewide each year, thanks to a grant from San Francisco's intermediary organization, Team-Up for Youth, to the Jack London Aquatic Center.

"When you're on the water, you have to have a one-track mind," says Caitlin, a student in the program. "I never had that before. My brain was like everywhere." The grant enables Caitlin and the other girls to participate in the rowing program for a very reduced fee or for free. Read the sidebar for more.