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Wellmark Foundation grant to Girl Scouts targets hurtful relationships, cyber-bullying

Grant, chosen from 150 requests, will help fifth grade girls respond effectively

February 15, 2011

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(Des Moines, Iowa) – Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa will use a $25,000 grant from the Wellmark Foundation to implement a statewide wellness initiative targeting hurtful friendships and cyber-bullying among fifth grade girls.

Relational Aggression Prevention: Educating Girls and Communities to Take Action will educate and inspire fifth grade girls to prevent and solve hurtful friendship problems, including cyber-bullying.

Girls are more likely than boys to participate in or be victims of relational aggression, which can have serious and significant health effects. They include:

  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression

The initiative will reach 2,500 fifth grade girls, as well as 450 Girl Scout staff and volunteers, and 600 community stakeholders. Girls will learn what to do in relational aggression situations and build confidence in their ability to respond effectively. Community stakeholders, volunteers and staff will learn strategies to reduce and prevent female bullying, and how to support girls in these situations.

Long term results of the initiative are to:

  • Enhance the confidence and skills of fifth grade girls to independently solve relational aggression situations
  • Educate community volunteers to coach girls through hurtful friendships or female bullying
  • Create positive environments for learning, teaching, leading, service and participation

Activities will include hosting community forums/training sessions in five communities, 25 Bully-Proof student workshops, and training sessions tailored for staff, volunteers, parents and media. Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa partnered with A Way ThroughTM, an Iowa-based organization, to develop the forums and training sessions, and will work together to hold the events.

Grant one of only 17 competitively selected
The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans, and their communities. Through its 2010 Healthy Communities Grant Program, the Foundation received nearly 150 grant requests. This grant award to Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa represents one of 17 competitively awarded to establish or expand health initiatives throughout Iowa and South Dakota.

Cumulatively, The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award $1,334,817 to these 17 grants to serve as catalyst funding for local health projects.

“Hurtful friendships and cyber-bullying are a growing and significant problem,” says Matt McGarvey, the Foundation’s director. “Giving girls the tools and confidence to deal with these potentially harmful situations will ultimately improve the health of girls across the state.”

About Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa
Girl Scouts is the world's preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls - all girls - where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build courage, confidence and character for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adults, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives - like strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.

For more information on Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa and its programs, contact Karen Grode, (515) 278-2881 / For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs, visit




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