The company reinforces its commitment to the development – and the future – of youth nationwide
Erica DePina of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester receives one of 50 National Scholarships
BOSTON (August 3, 2022) – Planet Fitness, one of the largest and fastest growing fitness franchisers and operators with more members than any other fitness brand, today announced it has awarded Erica DePina of Dorchester, Mass., with a $5,000 scholarship. This award was given for his inspirational efforts to create a kinder world for today’s youth as part of the company’s Judgment Free Generation® philanthropic initiative, which aims to prevent bullying and promote kindness in their communities. DePina is expected to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick this fall.
In partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Planet Fitness awarded $250,000 in scholarships this year, contributing to a total of $900,000 in scholarships recognizing 170 young people since 2017. Planet Fitness created this scholarship program to recognize the many teenagers who continue to promote kindness, acceptance and inclusion in their communities, qualities that Planet Fitness and Boys & Girls Clubs of America collectively support.
Nominations were submitted by teens from Boys & Girls Clubs of America across the country, and award winners were awarded based on a personal essay, staff recommendation, and video submission, all representing the how they demonstrate and perpetuate the values of kindness, acceptance and respect.
DePina’s winning submission described how a staff member at Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester in the Early Childhood Education Department saw how she could calm a frustrated child and make him feel safe and heard, taking her aside to say, “that’s what you’re supposed to do.” DePina now plans to study cognitive science with a minor in psychology; she says her experiences with the Boys and Girls Clubs preschool program l inspired to learn more about autism and psychology to help others.
“It is a privilege to not only continue our scholarship program this year, but to recognize and reward 50 inspiring teens who are making a positive impact on the world today,” said Chris Rondeau, CEO of Planet Fitness. “With all that young people have been through over the past few years, it is inspiring to see how committed these scholars are to themselves, their peers and their communities. As home of the Judgment Free Zone®, Planet Fitness is thrilled to see these changemakers continue to lead by example and build a more welcoming future.
“We are thrilled to honor teens who continue our mission to provide inclusive spaces for young people to thrive and be themselves,” said Jim Clark, President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Boys & Girls Clubs of America is committed to improving the lives of every child and teen who walks through our doors, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to award these scholarships, with the support of our partners at Planet Fitness.”
Since 2016, together with its franchisees, members and partners, Planet Fitness has contributed more than $7 million to support anti-bullying and pro-kindness initiatives. As part of the program, the company funded first-of-its-kind social-emotional skills training for professionals and youth at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which is grounded in a trauma-informed approach to recognizing the impacts of traumatic experiences on youth behavior while providing opportunities for growth. The company has also engaged in volunteer efforts and has built inviting gyms known as Mini Judgment Free Zones at select Boys & Girls Clubs of America across the country.
Learn more about Planet Fitness’ efforts to positively impact the communities where people live, work and train through PF Purpose.