June 1, 2014: United Way Perth-Huron’s Program Review and Allocation Committee, as well as the Board of Directors, are pleased to announce that the Perth District Health Unit has received a $17,500 Demonstration and Development Grant to expand their F.U.E.L. Plus program.
Demonstration and Development grants assist start-up or expansion of projects which address new, emergent, or critical issues that; foster partnerships between organizations and individuals; or improve organizational structure to build capacity within the charitable sector.
With the grant, the Perth District Health Unit is expanding the “F.U.E.L. Plus — Females Using Energy for Life Secondary School” Program to include high school aged women. F.U.E.L. Plus is a weekly lunch or after-school program that helps improve self-esteem and mental health and empower young women to be more physically active.
A 2013 evaluation of Perth District Health Unit’s Teen Esteem program for grade 7-8 girls, 65 % of respondents identified the need for a similar program in secondary schools. The respondents specified the desired content areas to better prepare them for the realities of high school – relationships (dating, family, friends), mental health and stress, bullying, peer pressure (esp. related to alcohol and drugs), body image, goal setting, decision-making and motivation, on their ability to distinguish between unhealthy versus healthy relationships; how to access help for handling unhealthy relationships and stress; and on their ability to make decisions based on their own values as opposed to their friends’ decisions. Positive behavioral influences were also perceived for communication, stress management, goal setting and managing difficult situations. It is expected that these areas will be further enhanced as high school level challenges are discussed. While several programs exist for female students in elementary schools, there are few available for secondary schools. Adolescent females face significant developmental challenges throughout their high school years.
F.U.E.L will allow female secondary school students to develop awareness of their bodies and. Students will demonstrate an improved sense of physical and emotional well-being. Participants will be more confident decision makers, and will in turn be at reduced risk of harm. Protective factors will be increased, including connectedness to peers, family and school.
United Way Perth-Huron supports nearly 50 agencies, projects and programs in Perth and Huron Counties with over $960,000 invested locally.