HAMPTON, N.H., Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Planet Fitness, Inc., one of the largest and fastest-growing global franchisors and operators of fitness centers with more members than any other fitness brand, today announced the recipients of its annual Judgement Free Generation® scholarships, which recognize teens for their commitment to promoting inclusion, acceptance and kindness. Following a record number of applications, 45 deserving youth from Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the country were each awarded $5,000 for their inspiring efforts to create a brighter, more accepting future.
This year marks a major milestone for Planet Fitness' Judgement Free Generation charitable initiative in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The scholarship program has reached the milestone of awarding its 100th scholarship since the start of the program four years ago, representing a total of $500,000 in scholarships to date. Because the program received more applications than ever before, even while many Boys & Girls Clubs were closed or at limited capacity due to the pandemic, Planet Fitness increased the number of scholarships provided. To celebrate and surprise each recipient in a socially-distanced manner, Planet Fitness and Boys & Girls Clubs of America sent special gift packages so all winners could "unbox" the news of their scholarship along with a backpack, water bottle and notebook for the school year ahead.
In an effort to create a more empowering future for young people everywhere, Planet Fitness set up this scholarship to recognize teens who promote kindness, acceptance and inclusion in their communities, qualities that Planet Fitness and Boys & Girls Clubs of America strongly support. Scholarship recipients were selected based on multiple criteria, including a personal essay, staff recommendation and video submission that demonstrated how each youth actively promotes these values.
The 45 scholarship winners selected by Planet Fitness and Boys & Girls Clubs of America are as follows:
• Jelani S. (Atlanta)
• Isaiah R. (Manchester, N.H.)
• Tova T. (Boston)
• Anyiah C. (Milwaukee)
• Maraya C. (Canoga Park, Calif.)
• Blakely C. (Mobile, Ala.)
• Michael C. (Chatsworth, Calif.)
• Mario R. (Nashua, N.H.)
• Estefany V. (North Hills, Calif.)
• Isabel M. (Chatsworth, Calif.)
• Allisa M. (Holland, Mich.)
• Richmond A. (Chicago)
• Zoraya A. (La Habra, Calif.)
• Allegra H. (Chicago)
• Courtney H. (Lakewood, Colo.)
• Carla K. (Chicago)
• Matthew R. (Lakewood, Colo.)
• Andres T. (Chimayo, N.M.)
• Paige M. (Manchester, N.H.)
• Geovanni G. (Cicero, Ill.)
• Isahia S. (Compton, Calif.)
• Nicolas S. (Santa Ana, Calif.)
• Hannah G. (Fairfield, Conn.)
• Erick P. (Santa Maria, Calif.)
• Alexus M. (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
• Marguerite A. (Sarasota, Fla.)
• Venus R. (Havelock, N.C.)
• Samantha R. (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
• Ny'Jawan J. (Holland, Mich.)
• Carly M. (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
• Esli M. (Holland, Mich.)
• Jakobie F. (Theodore, Ala.)
• Owen L. (Nashua, N.H.)
• Christopher T. (Theodore, Ala.)
• Sami F. (Northridge, Calif.)
• Emily C. (Tustin, Calif.)
• Zaria B. (Palmetto, Fla.)
• Jenicka V. (Wake Forest, N.C.)
• Samuel H. (Panama City, Fla.)
• Kirsten C. (Winnetka, Calif.)
• Corian M. (Red Oak, Texas)
• Mindy T. (Winnetka, Calif.)
• Edwin U. (Reseda, Calif.)
• Kenny V. (San Francisco)
In one of the winning submissions, Isaiah R. from Manchester, N.H., shared the value of accepting oneself and being comfortable in one's own skin. He stated, "It is important to me to make sure people aren't afraid to be themselves. It's important to me that people know they have peers that are always willing to listen, be by their side and help them through any situation they come across."
"With many families facing financial challenges coupled with a sense of uncertainty among youth as they embark on a college experience that looks different than they had imagined, we wanted to do our part to support as many young people as possible with our scholarship program," said Chris Rondeau, Planet Fitness' Chief Executive Officer. "We could all benefit from a more inclusive world, and we look forward to following the positive impact that these scholarship recipients will make within their communities and beyond in the years to come."
Planet Fitness hosts its 'United We Move' digital workout series on Facebook each weekday which consists of 20 minute (or less) live workouts that don't require any equipment, all designed to combat stress while keeping everyone physically and mentally fit. Planet Fitness' certified fitness trainer Teddy Savage is hosting a special 'United We Move' workout on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 7:00 p.m. EST in celebration of the scholarship recipients, with recognized teens making a special appearance throughout the workout. During and after the live workout, viewers will have the opportunity to make a donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, with 100 percent of funds supporting critical health and wellbeing programs for its youth.
"The emotional safety of our Club members is of utmost importance to Boys & Girls Clubs. Through our partnership with Planet Fitness, we are able to provide positive club climate trainings to Club professionals and teen leaders, and are thrilled to award scholarships to youth who are furthering our shared mission of spreading kindness," said Boys & Girls Clubs of America President and CEO Jim Clark.
Since 2016, together with its franchisees, members, and partners, Planet Fitness has donated more than $5 million in support of the cause. As part of the program, the Company has funded first-of-its-kind pro-kindness and bullying prevention trainings for Boys & Girls Club professionals and youth, engaged in volunteer efforts and built welcoming gym spaces known as Mini Judgement Free Zones in select Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the country.
About Planet Fitness Founded in 1992 in Dover, NH, Planet Fitness is one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the United States by number of members and locations. As of June 30, 2020, Planet Fitness had more than 15.2 million members and 2,059 stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico and Australia. The Company's mission is to enhance people's lives by providing a high-quality fitness experience in a welcoming, non-intimidating environment, which we call the Judgement Free Zone®. More than 95% of Planet Fitness stores are owned and operated by independent business men and women.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America For 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,700 Clubs serve over 4.6 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America on Facebook and Twitter.