Five Fitness-Focused Charities to Support #GivingTuesday and Beyond
  • November 28, 2016
  • Tis the season to be jolly … and generous, kind and charitable. Whether you’re thinking about spending your holiday bonus on someone other than yourself, looking for an end-of-year tax write-off or hoping to spread some good cheer on #GivingTuesday, you can feel joyful about supporting any (or all!) of the fitness-focused causes below.

    Girls on the Run

    Through innovative programming, Girls on the Run participants gain confidence, develop life skills and form positive connections. Plus, these third through eighth graders all train to run a 5K race. By the time they toe that start line, Girls on the Run participants have already experienced an engaging curriculum on competence, confidence, character, care and connections. Josie, a sixth-grader, sums it up: “Girls on the Run could make any girl fearless because when you’re surrounded by people you trust, respect and care for, nothing can hold you back from being the most beautiful person you have grown to be.” Make your gift here.

    Playworks

    Were you the kid on the playground who was always picked last in kickball? Or maybe you spent your recess hiding out under the slides? Not saying I’m speaking from personal experience here … but if I was, it sure would have been nice to have Playworks around when I was growing up! Playworks is on a mission to change school culture by bringing back recess – and not just any recess. In the Playworks model, coordinators lead organized games that teach social and emotional skills, like conflict-resolution techniques and leadership. Kids are also free to play their own games, as long as they remain inclusive and positive. It’s a far cry from “cooties,” that’s for sure. Support Playworks here.

    Special Olympics

    For nearly 50 years, the Special Olympics has given people with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to shine on the track, in the pool and on the court. As an international organization, the Special Olympics ensures that children and adults from around the world enjoy opportunities to build global friendships and communities. With over 30 Olympic-style events, there are endless ways for participants to put their athletic skills to the test – and become empowered and confident in the process. If you’ve ever seen a Special Olympics event, you know that all of these athletes are champions. Give to the Special Olympics here.

    Surfers Healing

    As it is for many people, surfing the waves is a peaceful and calming experience for Isaiah Paskowitz. In fact, for Isaiah, it’s a way to help manage his autism, including the meltdowns and sensory overload that accompany his condition. When his parents saw the effect the waves had on their son, they decided to start Surfers Healing; Isaiah’s father, Israel, is a championship surfer. Today, their camps serve more than 4,500 children each year – at no cost to the families. It’s athletic adventure, therapeutic emotion and joyful expression, all rolled into one empowering ride. Make your gift here.

    World Bicycle Relief

    The focus of this organization is less about biking as an athletic activity and more about biking as a lifesaving endeavor – but we can get behind that. World Bicycle Relief provides sturdy, durable bikes to students, health care workers, farmers and entrepreneurs in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Many of these recipients had previously walked tens of miles every day to support their education or fulfill their job responsibilities. The impact of one bike ripples outward in innumerable ways. For example, health care volunteers are able to make 45 percent more visits when they have a bike to facilitate transportation. Get onboard by supporting World Bicycle Relief here.

    Which charities are you supporting during #GivingTuesday and the rest of this holiday season? Let us know in the comments section below!

    About Kelsey Schagemann

    Kelsey’s fitness journey started at age 14 when she moved from St. Louis, Mo., to Portland, Ore., also known as Nike headquarters and the home state of Steve Prefontaine. She was one of only two eighth grade girls on the cross country team and didn’t particularly like running in the rain, but she doggedly stuck with it. Running became Kelsey’s exercise of choice for the next several years as she logged countless miles on her high school and college cross country and track teams. Nowadays, you’re much more likely to find Kelsey in the spin studio (absolutely her favorite workout), lifting weights, perfecting tree pose or biking to/from DePaul University in Chicago, where she’s an associate editor. When she’s not working out, Kelsey is often trying new recipes, keeping the library in business, supporting her husband’s team (go Illini basketball!) and writing for publications such as Refinery29, A Practical Wedding, Melo, Fiterazzi, PR Week, and, of course, aSweatLife. Kelsey holds a BA in English from Kenyon College and an MA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago.