The Grassroots Project (TGP) is partnering with YI Advisors for the 2016-2017 ACIOP.
Founded in 2009 by Georgetown student-athlete and Rhodes Scholar Tyler Spencer, The Grassroot Project (TGP) aims to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Washington, DC by educating at-risk youth about the virus, prevention of its spread, stigma, and general sexual health. Our unique, interactive, game-based curriculum is delivered by our collegiate student-athlete “coaches” in 7th-grade health and P.E. classes in public and public charter schools primarily. We serve students primarily in Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8. Since our founding, we have grown exponentially. To date, we have delivered programs in 53 schools and community sites throughout the District, reaching over 3500 students. Since our first program, we have trained over 1000 coaches to deliver these programs, and our network of alumni continues to be involved in our important work. The following anecdotes are a testament to the impact TGP is having on youth in DC and young student-athlete mentors alike:
“High Risk, Low Risk, No Risk, one of the most content-heavy Grassroot games, usually turns out to be the most engaging as well. I loved listening to the disputes that broke out in my program this semester between team members, resolving only when one kid shouted out, “But guys, remember the four fluids [that transmit HIV]!” Moments like those remind me that the lessons we teach are going home with the kids and spreading throughout their communities, debunking myths as they go.” – Natalie “Nat” Clark, Georgetown University, Rowing
“After completing a program last spring at School Without Walls – Francis Stevens, I noticed some familiar faces getting onto the metro after school and on my way to a class. The girls yelled for me and asked me to quiz them on things in the TGP curriculum. I was so proud of them telling their other friends who weren’t in Grassroots class and for wanting to retain the knowledge they learned through the games I taught them.” Erin “Boody” Boudreau, George Washington University, Soccer.
“Although it is challenging for some students to understand or grasp right away the gravity and importance of the material being taught, many of the students have already demonstrated that they have learned a lot about HIV/AIDS within the first few weeks of the program. Their depth of understanding after a few sessions in shown in the thought-provoking questions and answers they provide. I enjoy them keeping me on my toes and I learn something new every week as well.” Kevin “Mac-Attack” McGowan, Georgetown University, Rowing.
While the statistics have improved since TGP began in 2009, we still fight to ensure that the rates of HIV continue to drop. TGP is also rising to the challenge of addressing the systemic problem of poor overall health literacy among adolescents in DC schools. Our team is excited to work with NLM to update and expand our curriculum, to train more athletes as facilitators, and engage and educate DC youth on HIV/AIDS in person and online.
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