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Making Healthy Connections with Racialized Communities:
Girls and Young Women’s Experiences with Sport, Physical Activity and Healthy Living

The Making Healthy Connections with Racialized Communities project was designed to enhance capacity at the community, regional and provincial levels to increase healthy living opportunities for girls and young women from ethnic communities. The project was funded through the Healthy Communities Fund of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in 2011-2013, and builds on On the Move, CAAWS’ national initiative to increase opportunities for inactive girls and young women ages (9-18) to participate in sport and physical activity.

Project Rationale

  • Only 5% of girls and young women meet the recommendations in the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (AHKC, 2013).
  • Girls and young women from diverse ethno-cultural communities are the most underrepresented in the Canadian sport and physical activity sector (Sport Canada, 2005).
  • Many community-based sport and physical activity programs are not gender appropriate, and fail to address parental and cultural concerns with respect to girls’ and young women’s participation. More girl-focused programs are needed (OCASI, 2006).

Project Report and Other Resources

Based on findings from focus groups with girls and young women from diverse ethno-cultural communities, and practitioners providing healthy living services to this target group, this report discusses the sport and physical activity needs, interests and experiences of girls and young women, shares successes and challenges from an organizational perspective, and provides recommendations to enhance program and service delivery. The report also provides conceptual information about race, racism and racialization, and discusses the complexities of multiculturalism.
Download the Project Report
Download the Recommendations Summary
Download the Increasing Cultural Awareness Supplement
Download the Additional Reading Supplement
Download the Success Story Supplement: Town of Ajax (coming soon!)

Watch the Project Video
Project Coordinator and Master Trainer Tammy George brings key concepts and findings from the Making Health Connections in Racialized Communities project to life in this educational video.

Community Workshops

Based on the Making Healthy Connections with Racialized Communities Report, workshops are half-day, interactive, issue-based sessions that provide an overview of the project, share focus group findings, discuss the complexities of race and multiculturalism in an increasingly diverse society as they apply to sport, physical activity and healthy living, and provide tips and recommendations to increase the participation of girls and young women from ethnic communities. Appropriate for everyone from practitioners to policy makers, the workshops also provide an opportunity for participants to network and share their experiences, successes and challenges. Workshops will be delivered by trained CAAWS facilitators from diverse ethnic communities across the province.

To host a workshop in your community, email CAAWS.
To review the biographies of the workshop facilitators click here.
Watch a webinar.
For upcoming CAAWS workshops visit the Workshop page.

Project Impact

The following statistics highlight the impact of CAAWS’ Making Health Connections with Racialized Communities project during 2011-2013. Thank you to our provincial and community partners that helped make the project a success!

  • Focus groups with 150+ girls and young women from diverse ethno-cultural communities about their healthy living needs, interests and experiences.
  • Focus groups with 70+ sport and physical activity service providers, about their experiences providing programs and services to the target group.
  • The production and dissemination of a report, practical supplements, and an interactive workshop sharing the focus group findings and recommendations for enhancing healthy living programs.
  • 13 diverse women engaged as workshop facilitators and champions.
  • 17 workshops delivered across the province.
  • 2 webinars delivered (English and French)
  • Engaged 370+ program leaders and decision makers through the workshops and webinars.
  • 97% of workshop participants felt they had a better understanding of the barriers racialized girls and young women confront to participation in sport and physical activity.
  • 87% of workshop participants indicated they had a better understanding of they could create more quality programs and positive environments to support the participation of racialized girls and young women.
  • 99.5% of workshop participants indicated they would recommend the workshop to others.

Testimonials from Workshop Participants

“I feel like the information gained in this workshop will help me with my way of communication with women and helping them with programs.”

“I plan on networking more with service providers from the workshop to relay their services to the girls I work with.”

“The workshop gave me new motivation to push a more equitable and diverse agenda forward! Thank you.”



Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity
970 Queen Street East,
PO Box 98162
Toronto, Ontario M4M 1J0
Tel: 416-901-0484