Go FIT is a simple program based on an innovative concept that yields powerful results. The innovative concept is engaging formerly sedentary women and youth into a walk-to-run program dedicated to empower, educate, and motivate inner city women and youth to set their lives on a healthful track by promoting education, exercise, and supporting healthy decision making. The program is free to all participants and includes weekly exercise sessions and guest speakers on the topics of nutrition, fitness, drug prevention, and self-motivation. As incentive for completion, most participants receive free running shoes, socks, t-shirts, water bottles, snacks and most importantly, lasting positive mentorship.
Go FIT is an organization that works to improve the lives of young people in Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut. The focus on academic achievement is apparent but Go FIT also recognizes that academic success is not enough to lead a healthy life. The Go FIT program has sought out opportunities to expand the experience of the participants and improve their lives along the way. For this reason, collaborating with Go FIT is a natural extension into further enhancing the experience of the participants.
The Go FIT program serves boys and girls from ages 3-19. In order to qualify for this program, students must receive free or reduced fee lunches, or come from an underserved population.
In terms of key achievements, Go FIT has successfully implemented collaborations using a four to six week clinic program throughout the region at many community sites including Girls Incorporated of Holyoke, Bay State Health System/Spirit of Women, The Massachusetts Career Development Center, Alternative Skill Center High School in Springfield, Springfield's YMCA and the Agawam School System. Go FIT has recently finished working with the Martin Luther King Community Center in Springfield, Step Ahead/Step Forward Program from the Elms College in Chicopee, and Bay Path College in Longmeadow. Though these programs differ often in delivery or the particular group served, the Go FIT model with its unique combination of relationship-building or mentorship with a walk-to-run fitness program to sustain behavior change in physical activity and nutrition has been able to meet and exceed expectations of collaborators.
At the beginning and the ending of each six week program, all participants fill out a survey designed to measure the impact the program has on each participant. Our continued contact with administrators and often times, participants enables the organization to continue to track the success of individual experiences, even if this would be primarily anecdotal.