Geneva Girls on the Go

Beth O'Connor

Beth O'Connor, William Smith '12
Political Science Major
Education and Religion Minor

"Local girls didn't have an outlet for mentors so we started Geneva Girls on the Go where Geneva youth are matched up with a William Smith student that has signed up for the program. The goal is to connect young local women to William Smith students so they can learn and live healthy lifestyles with a base of support. We hope to promote self empowerment and improvement by getting in shape while having a good time."

What were your goals for the project? What did you hope to accomplish?

  • The goal is to run everyday with the girls. Motivating girls of that age to run is challenging so the William Smith students have to be creative and active at the same time.
  • We hope to empower young women of the middle school age and William Smith students while having fun and getting in shape in the process.
  • Overall, the goal is to teach healthy lifestyles and get everyone in shape.
  • Next year, the program is expanding to include organized outings such as going to baseball games.

What have you personally learned so far?

"I've learned how to coordinate a program of this capacity. Helping organize Geneva Girls on the Go taught me a lot about the level of dedication and organization need to conduct this program. I also learned that the years between where we are and where they are isn't that much. It was funny to see how quickly we mixed despite our differences and how quickly bonds between us all formed. It was great to see the girls come together into their own and help them in the process." - Beth O'Connor

How do you think this has affected the community?

"I think it absolutely helped the community. The community connections built from this are incredible and the direct connection is impossible to miss." - Beth O'Connor

Lauren Morosky

Lauren Morosky, William Smith '12
Psychology Major
Education and Law and Society minor

"Geneva Girls On the Go! is a program run through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester in which we pair a William Smith student with a Geneva Middle School girl, and we ran and did various activities with them once a week. The hope was to give the middle school girls a role model to look up to while fostering healthy habits and friendship, as well as awareness of the community. I think this definitely had a positive impact on the community. Not only on the individual level of each girl who was involved in the program, but I think that it shows that HWS wants to reach out to the community. I think one of the best ways to do this is to help out the youth of the community. As students of HWS, we can't forget that we are also members of the Geneva community as a whole, and helping out in the community is a great way to help that relationship."

What are your goals for the project? What did you hope to accomplish?

  • The purpose of the project was to help the middle school girls towards a healthier lifestyle and gain knowledge about their surroundings.
  • The hope was that the William Smith student could be a role model to look up to and promote healthy habits and friendship, as well as awareness of the community.
  • Another goal was to show the middle school girls that exercise doesn't have to be a chore, it can be fun.

What have you learned? How has this project affected you?

"I learned that a program such as this goes both ways, that it can be a learning experience for both the college student and the middle school student. Also, that it really takes a commitment from both girls involved in a match to get the most out of it. I really hope that this program continues on because I feel like it had a positive affect for pretty much everyone involved. It was great to be able to work within the Geneva community, especially its youth." - Lauren Morosky

Jessica Cook

Jessica Cook, William Smith '10
Biochemistry Major
Public Policy Minor

What are your goals for the project? What did you hope to accomplish?

  • For Geneva Girls on the Go, each middle school girl had a William Smith student she knew was coming to hang out with her either on a Monday or Thursday after school to do outdoor activities as a group. Most of the activities were based around getting in shape but we ended up doing other stuff too such as exploring Cherry Pharm, going to campus to play Frisbee, and walking along the lake at the State Park trail.
  • I hope the project continues and expands. I would like to see increased participation next year as well as maybe starting earlier and planning out more field trips around Geneva to keep the girls interested.
  • The end goal is also to create long term matches. During the program, the matches are only covered to meet during program hours but if the girls get along great and decide they want to be able to pursue hanging out on a more regular basis, the matches can move forward to become long term. More than half our matches this past semester ended up becoming long term which I think speaks a great length to the ability of our program to form connections and bonds between the William Smith and middle school student.

What did you personally learn? How has this project affected you?

"The project taught me how to organize a program of this size and how to break everything apart to concentrate on one thing at a time. We were able to turn just an idea into an actual program that really changed everyone who was a part of it. Without a doubt Geneva Girls on the Go had a positive impact on the participants and the community. Having a collegiate role model who is volunteering because they truly want to be there for the person they are paired with, is only going to benefit the Geneva Middle school girls involved."
- Jessica Cook


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