WASHINGTON (7News) — A nonprofit called Grassroots Health is working to promote health and wellness in D.C. middle schools.
The nonprofit was founded back in 2009 by college athletes. It was in response to the growing rate of HIV among teens in D.C. About 40 Georgetown athletes built a program that uses sports as a tool to break the stigma around sex, HIV, and relationships.
Now, the non-profit is focusing on 12 D.C. middle schools -- teaching mental health to 8th graders, sexual health to 7th graders and nutritional health to 6th graders. All of these lessons are led by Dvision-1 athlete volunteers with sports-based games, and that’s how they break the ice about important issues.
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7News' Robert Burton spoke to the founder of the non-profit about why college athletes are perfect for this.
“In the early days of the program, we heard from a lot of youth that the athletes were kind of cooler and more relatable than their teacher or parent," said Tyler Spencer, founder of Grassroots Health.
Spencer says athletes make the perfect adult role model who can have "sensitive conversations with students and create a space where they are able to feel comfortable to share and talk about how these issues are really impacting them.”
Tyler says if you are a college athlete in the DMV or you know of any athletes that would like to be a part of this group, you can click here.