Girls on the Run-Chicago to Altgeld Gardens

March 2, 2016 04:00 PM

Media Contacts: TCA Health
Mariann McGill

CHICAGO – March 2, 2016 –Girls on the Run Chicago (GOTRC) will, for a first-time, implement a 12-week after-school program for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade girls in Chicago’s far south side Altgeld Gardens community. Cigna Foundation is the key funder of this initiative and TCA’s Health & Wellness Collaborative is the principal organizer. The Girls on the Run program will take place at Carver Park beginning Monday, March 7, 2016.

The goal of Girls on the Run Chicago is to help create a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and feels the freedom to pursue her dreams. The Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms. Throughout the season, girls will make new friends, build their confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique.

Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age. They also develop important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences. The curriculum begins with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them, then it looks at the importance of teamwork and healthy relationships, and finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with, and shape the world around them.

To celebrate Girls on the Run coming to the far south side and the Altgeld – Murray Housing Development, a kickoff event will be held on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 from 4:00 PM -5:30 PM at the Chicago Park District- Carver Park. The 12 participants, their family members, and a host of community partners and leaders will be on hand to showcase the program. All will wish the girls well and cheer them on as they begin their 12-week journey.

The community’s involvement and support of this in initiative is exceptional. Members of TCA’s Health& Wellness Collaboration have become the champions for ensuring that the program is a success. Other partners include the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), and Metropolitan Family Services. There is also local support from GOTRC staff who will attend monthly community meetings to collectively provide support and resolve any challenges that may arise. The funds awarded by the Cigna Foundation will cover the expense of training three of TCA’s Health & Wellness staff to facilitate the 12-week youth development program and will cover all expenses for the 12 girls that are participating this spring. All have made a commitment to seeing that the 12 girl participants complete the program in its entirety, including crossing the 5k finish line.

“For 18 years I have worked with TCA to improve the physical, mental and emotional health of children many who are economically and socially disadvantaged,” said Dr. Peter McCauley Sr., M.D., regional medical executive for Cigna's Northeast Region and volunteer physician with TCA Health. “I’m so pleased the Cigna Foundation was able to make the connection for Girls on the Run and TCA Health at our recent summit with our non-profit partners held in Chicago. Being able to fund the vision that supports bringing healthy resources to a community in need of healthy options is a win-win for Cigna.“

“TCA Health is delighted to partner with Girls on the Run, the Cigna Foundation, and other community partners to bring such an empowering program to the Altgeld community,” said Veronica Clarke, CEO of TCA Health, Inc. “TCA strives to provide barrier-free access to health education and preventative services. The GOTR program will help educate our community on the importance of physical fitness, as well provide the children and youth with the tools to develop and nurture their self-esteem so that they can be the leaders of tomorrow.”

"The Chicago Park District is thrilled to offer this amazing opportunity for the young females of Carver Park. Not only will this program increase physical activity in girls, but increase selfesteem and build well rounded girls in this community."

“We are pleased to join with TCA Health and the other partners to bring this important program to the girls of Altgeld Gardens,” said CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. “CHA has declared 2016 the Year of the Youth and this program fits into our goals of helping young people improve their lives and reach their own goals. We look forward to the positive outcomes that Girls on the Run Chicago will have in this community.”

About TCA Health, Inc.
Established in 1970 as a privately owned clinic, TCA became a federally qualified health center in 1991. Today the health center provides continuous, comprehensive, high quality primary health care services and serves as a medical home for over 7,000 patients annually. At TCA’s main clinic (adjacent to the Altgeld- Murray Public Housing Development), and its nearby school-based health center at Carver Military Academy, community residents have physical and financial access to culturally and linguistically appropriate health care. Encompassing prevention, early detection, treatment, and health education, TCA offers family medicine, internal medicine, dental, pediatrics, obstetrics & gynecology, mental health, clinical social work services, case management, health education and outreach, and nutritional counseling. TCA also operates two freestanding Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) sites, the Mobile Student Health Clinic, and the Health and Wellness Collaborative of Chicago’s far south communities and suburbs. Throughout all of TCA’s programs, and as a federally qualified health center, TCA addresses improving access to care for vulnerable populations; reducing health disparities; increasing quality and affordability of health care; promoting health and wellness; and, preventing and managing diseases. To learn more about TCA Health, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

About the Cigna Foundation
The Cigna Foundation, founded in 1962, is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work.

About Cigna
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 88 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

About Girls on the Run-Chicago
Girls on the Run-Chicago (GOTRC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit after-school program that uses the power of running to educate and prepare 3rd-8th grade girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. The innovative program combines training for a 5k event with interactive lessons that encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. In 2016, Girls on the Run-Chicago will serve more than 10,000 girls at more than 350 sites across Chicagoland, empowering them with the confidence and character they need to become strong, healthy women. To learn more about Girls on the Run-Chicago, visit