This community post is from Movemeant Foundation's most recent grant recipient, Upower, located in Seattle, Washington. Read more about their organization, their founder Martha Moseley and how you, our supporters and donors, are helping to impact the lives of young women in this challenged community.
By Maia Kaz, Upower Staff Writer
Angel investing in successful online startups and founding a nonprofit that empowers underserved youth through fitness may seem worlds apart, but for Martha Moseley, they’re intimately connected. They’re about seeing the potential of game-changing ventures and putting considerable resources, and a lot of grit, toward making them a reality.
After twenty years as an angel investor, Martha shifted her phenomenal energy to youth fitness and founded Upower, a Seattle-based nonprofit that provides no-cost fitness, health, and wellness classes to underserved teens.
The mother of four active children, Martha was disturbed by the stark health inequalities that exist in her city between kids who have access to fitness and sports, and those who don’t due to a lack of resources. An accomplished athlete—she played basketball and rugby at Williams College and later coached middle school girls’ basketball and CrossFit for high-school and college students—Martha had a vision of bringing the joys and health benefits of physical activity to more young people. In 2013, Upower was born.
Upower provides access to physical activity and wellness education to underserved high schoolers in Seattle’s King County. Workouts are constantly varied - meeting teens where they are on the fitness spectrum and inspiring them to set and achieve appropriate fitness goals. Team-building games that get teens moving and laughing, along with nutritional challenges, are key features of Upower workouts.
Upower is especially excited to launch a new pilot program—“Just for Girls”—this fall. Classes will be targeted to the fitness needs of underserved teen girls who have difficulty getting physical education credit in school for a variety of reasons. The focus will be on providing culturally sensitive physical activities that take into account a variety of participants’ backgrounds, confidence building, and health and wellness issues.
Martha is especially excited to launch this program because she anticipates an important shift in the girls’ attitude toward fitness. “Girls who come to Upower classes often talk at first about wanting to lose weight,” she says. “But by the end of a session, they’re more interested in becoming strong, fit, and taking responsibility for their overall well-being. It’s amazing to watch!”
In just two years, Upower has served more than 650 teens across King County, established partnerships with some 17 high schools and several school districts, and developed partnerships with a variety of community-based organizations.
Martha attributes Upower’s success to the hard work of its core staff, total dedication to the organization’s mission, and the incredible generosity of volunteers—whether early supporters or the coaches who teach Upower classes. She’s especially impressed by young volunteers in their 20s and 30s who find the time and resources to give to Upower and “who make Upower a vehicle for giving back to the community.”
About Martha Moseley, Founder and President of Upower
Martha Moseley is the founder and president of Upower, a Seattle-based nonprofit (501c3) that provides fitness, health, and wellness classes to underserved teens in Seattle. Click here for more information about Upower and check out their video.