What does “at risk” even mean?

What does “at risk” even mean?

By Colby Robertson | Wellfit Girls Program Director
“Do you serve girls that are at risk?”  is the question I hear just about every time I explain the Wellfit Girls Program to anyone, especially potential donors. The topic even came up at our recent screening of Warrior One. “This new group of girls looks pretty put together. They’re not at risk. Are you going to continue to serve at risk girls in the future?” It has been nearly a month since that woman stood up during the Q + A portion of the screening to ask that question. I have thought long and hard about the term at risk long before our screening, but even more so lately as I get to know this years group of girls even more. Personally, I’m tired of this term, this stereotyping word (or words) that seems to determine whether or not a child/teen/person is “deserving” enough of a donation or something extra in life.While interviewing girls for this year’s program we found many parents didn’t feel this was a program for their daughter because their daughter isn’t quote “at risk.” Well, what does at risk even mean? If you Google it (which I did) you will find:

  1. at-risk
    adjective
    adjective: at-riskvulnerable, especially to abuse or delinquency. “a church-run school for the most at-risk children”

Through my internet research I also discovered the term “at-risk” came into use after the article “A Nation at Risk”, published by the National Commission of Excellence in Education. The article described United States society as being economically and socially endangered. At-risk students are those who have been labeled, either officially or unofficially, as being in danger of academic failure. Another definition I found describes at risk children as those who are disabled, have low self-esteem, or been abused.

What if your child is growing up with divorced parents? What if your child has a parent with an addiction? What if your child is growing up in a “perfect” family? What if your family is very wealthy? We’re all at risk, especially TEEN GIRLS. It doesn’t matter. At some point in our life, we experience low-self esteem and many times it carries into our adult life. Many teens and women turn to eating disorders or other forms of self-harm. Some teen girls are “lost” and need some guidance before heading off to college.

Here’s the point. We have 11 amazing teenagers participating in the Wellfit Girls Program and they each have a story and they will each come out of this five-month program transformed. Casi is an incredible singer. The first time I heard her sing in front of the group of girls, I got chills. You would never know talking to Casi that she was diagnosed with a learning disorder when she was three years old and will not graduate from high school this year (but she will not give up!). Courtney, a senior at Naples High School has been without her mom since she was six years old. She talks about growing up relying on herself, yet feeling very lost in this world. The program WILL help these girls in every way possible… and THEY need your financial support. Please help us with our leadership movement for girls!

THE MISSION OF THE WELLFIT GIRLS PROGRAM is to empower teen girls to climb high in all areas of life through adventure and outdoor education, leadership training, physical fitness challenges, social entrepreneurship and creative expression. 
What the Wellfit Girls are saying about this life changing:
“Wellfit is giving me the confidence that I can do other things I never thought I could and ideas of what I might want to do with my life. My biggest hope with this program is to discover things that I have never discovered in myself before. This program is making me see that I can do more than I ever thought I could.”  
– Casi Emmerich, Wellfit Girls 2015 | Ten weeks into Wellfit Girls Program
“Opening up and creating a leader within myself has been a major part in my growth within this organization and I’m proud to be a member of such a group.” 
– Courtney Edwards, Wellfit Girls 2015 | Ten weeks into Wellfit Girls Program
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