About

We INSPIRE.      We MOTIVATE.       We STRENGTHEN.        We EMPOWER.

The FitWit Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in Atlanta, Georgia. Since 2008, The FitWit Foundation has offered free fitness and character development programs to over 700 teens in Metro Atlanta.  Our vision is for all young people to belong to a community committed to fitness that empowers them to believe in themselves and strive for success every day. Our core values of: Integrity, Passion, Excellence, and Community are exemplified in our programming, staff, and volunteers. Our flagship program, FitWit Club is offered at a variety of middle and high schools in Atlanta, with a focus on schools labeled Priority and Title I. FitWit Club has been recognized as a Georgia SHAPE Power Up! for 30 partner and an American Graduate partner in health.

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Mission Statement

MISSION STATEMENT: The FitWit Foundation provides free fitness programs that build strength and develop character for the young people who need it most.

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VISION STATEMENT: We envision a future where all young people belong to a community committed to fitness; that empowers them to believe in themselves and strive for success every day.

 

Our History

In 2005, husband and wife team Josh and Erin Guerrieri taught and coached in the city schools of Atlanta. Besides a lack of resources in the schools, what was most alarming was the absence of a positive peer community.  For anyone growing up playing sports, this community is familiar – teammates and coaches that encourage you, push you, count on you and believe in you.  But what if you didn’t play a sport? Out of luck and out of community?  Josh and Erin sought to fill this gap by offering their students a gathering space to do a little fitness, make new friends, have fun, and experience things they never dreamed were possible.

While Josh and Erin provided programs for their students, they also began molding adult fitness camps throughout the city of Atlanta.  These early fitness camps evolved into what is now the groundbreaking FitWit® training program devoted to variety, community, and measured progress for all fitness levels. As FitWit grew, Josh and Erin aspired to remain true to their original vision of helping underserved students be healthy and successful. In 2008, with the help of friend and former college teammate, Ben Thoele,  The FitWit Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, was born.

 

Board of Directors

IMG_2920Matt Benard, President
Wanting a chance to give back to the community and seeing potential growth for The FitWit Foundation, Matt joined us in 2012. Matt brings creativity and passion to the board.  In his limited free time, you may find Matt collecting records, cooking, watching sports, or out with his pugs.
SarahRuppersburgSarah Ruppersburg, Vice President
Formerly a teacher, and many years at CARE USA, Sarah currently works as a Senior Advancement Officer for the CDC Foundation. Her experiences have exposed her to a variety of funding as well as cultures and countries. After spending so much time focusing on international needs, she has a recognized a desire to focus her energy and passion locally here in Atlanta.  She is excited to share the skills she has acquired at a very large non-profit with The FitWit Foundation.
cavalierDr. Beth Cavalier, Secretary
Beth joined the FitWit Foundation board of directors in Spring of 2011. As a professor of Sociology at GåA Gwinnett College, Beth is able to bring her experience of working with youth as well as her skill sets in research and grant writing. When she is not working out at FitWit Grant Park, she enjoys spending time with her puppies, Oliver & Dobby, live music, and writing.

erinDr. Erin Torzewski, Treasurer
As a chiropractor and owner of The Body Well, Dr. Erin brings her wellness expertise as well as a business owner’s perspective to The FitWit Foundation’s Board of Directors. Providing opportunities for local youth to discover their potential through fitness and other wellness tools is what excited Dr. Erin the most about The FitWit Foundation’s work. Erin loves working and living in the Grant Park community. Erin can often be found walking her dog, Moses, around the park, or running with friends.
Ben Theole
As the founder and former president of The FitWit Foundation, provides strategic vision and leadership to the Board of Directors. Additionally, Ben’s expertise in fitness is valuable to programming matters. As a co-owner of FitWit, llc., Ben has helped 1000’s of individuals ages 6 to 65 reach their health, fitness, and athletic goals. Ben sees fitness as one of the only things in life where you can succeed just by trying. Ben, his wife, Jill, son and daughter live in Avondale Estates.
JasonWinstonJason Winston
Inspired by the kids who Jason has worked with over the last 9 years volunteer coaching basketball at the Boys and Girls Club, Jason wanted o continue to inspire more. In addition to his commitment to giving back to the community, Jason runs his own marketing company. Jason provides his expertise on marketing by serving as co-chair of our Marketing Committee. You can frequently find Jason, along with his wife, Shayla, along with their dog, Jackson, and cat, Debo, out and about in Grant Park.
JennaGarlandJenna Garland
Despite the fact we have yet to believe it, Jenna claims, she was “never a gifted athlete” growing up. It was not until Jenna’s late 20’s that she experienced how physical fitness, particularly in a community of others, translated into measurable improvements in her personal fitness as well as overall happiness. As press secretary for Mayor Kasim Reed, Jenna brings a wonderful perspective on the city’s needs and developments on a variety of issues, including expansion and growth of The FitWit Foundation.
 

Staff

photo5Megan Gilroy, Executive Director

Megan’s desire to empower youth and passion for health prompted her to move from Colorado to join The FitWit Foundation in 2013.  Megan used her experiences in teaching, personal training, and holistic to develop the FitWit Club program curriculum. She is inspired knowing the impact empowering today’s youth will one day have on the community of Atlanta.  It is often you may find Megan running on the Beltline, riding her bike, or cooking with friends.

 

FAQ

How are FitWit, llc and The FitWit Foundation, 501c3 connected?   We share the same founders. FitWit, llc adult members monthly fees provide 30% of The FitWit Foundation’s monthly funding.  FitWit also hosts a yearly banquet, field day, and community socials for their adult members that raise proceeds directly for The FitWit Foundation. FitWit members take up a large portion of our volunteer database.

What schools are you in?     Collectively, we have run 29 programs, in 10 different locations and served over 685 students. Recent locations we have served include: Maynard H. Jackson High School, Decatur High School, Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club, Renfroe Middle School, and Atlanta Neighborhood Charter Middle School.

With all that teachers have to do, how do you get them to be a club advisor?     We provide a $500 stipend to teachers/school staff members as well as free membership to the adult bootcamp through FitWit, llc.  We also partner with local university students through internship and volunteer programs to become club advisors.  On top of receiving a stipend and fitness camp membership, The FitWit Foundation provides each club advisor with: a full day of training led by FitWit’s certified personal trainers, an Advisor manual, as well as all the necessary materials and support to run FitWit Club effectively at their school.

How do you choose what schools you are in?  We focus schools that have been labeled by the government as “priority” or “under performing” in Metro Atlanta due to low test schools and/or graduation rates. A majority of these schools are also considered Title I, which means greater than 40% of their student population is considered low income and using government assistance. However, under certain conditions, we will offer FitWit Club to schools that do not fall under the “priority” or Metro Atlanta categories.

Don’t these students have gym class?  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that young people aged 6–17 years participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.2 In a CDC survey, only 29% of high school students surveyed had participated in at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity on all 7 days before the survey, only 31% attended physical education class daily, with 41% of those being 9th-grade students and only 24% 12th-grade students.

How do you get the students to join your programs?   Recruitment methods vary by school and is typically left up to the club advisor.  Gaining attention and developing relationships with students during lunch or other school activities has proven successful as well as asking teachers and staff to refer students to the program.

What do you mean by “building character”? How do you measure that?  The five areas of character we look at are: Empowerment, Social Support, Resilience, Physical self-perception, and Psychological self-perception. We measure this through a series of questions that participants answer before and after the program.

Each program is designed with a character trait as its theme. For example, this year’s theme is “Stepping into your Challenge Zone”. Students journal after each workout on specific daily topic or quote that applies to the overall theme.

How are you supported/funded by?   In addition to shared equipment, trainer access, and other fitness resources, FitWit, LLC donates 3% of each members monthly membership fee to The FitWit Foundation through its Live Fit, Give Fit model. This provides 30% of The FitWit Foundation’s yearly budget. The FitWit Foundation relies on individual donations as well as proceeds from annual fundraising events to provide the remainder of funding needs.

What makes your work different from all the other nonprofits working towards fighting obesity?  While decreasing obesity and improving fitness are important to us, our primary aim lies in using fitness as the vehicle to empower children to believe in themselves and strive for success every day. Although we have FitWit Clubs in a couple of middle schools, high school age students are our focus, which is not common. High School students are busy, that’s for sure, but they still can be influenced greatly. All club meetings are tailored for students not involved in sports, designed to accommodate all fitness levels in a non-competitive environment.

When and Where do the clubs meet?   Club meeting time, days, and locations vary by school, but a majority of all the clubs meet right after school, 2x/week, on the school campus.

Still have more questions, email us: foundation@fitwit.com.