SEATTLE, WA—July 28, 2021—Planet Fitness, Inc., one of the largest and fastest-growing global franchisors and operators of fitness centers with more members than any other fitness brand, has awarded a $5,000 college scholarship to Alizabeth B. Ashton of Centralia, WA.
The 18-year-old recently graduated from Rochester High School and will start classes this fall at Eastern Washington University. She was one of 30 scholarship recipients nationwide chosen for her efforts to create a kinder world for today’s youth.
Planet Fitness annually presents these scholarships as part of its Judgement Free Generation – a philanthropic initiative with Boys & Girls Clubs of America that helps prevent bullying and promote kindness in their communities.
“I thank everyone at Planet Fitness and Boys & Girls Clubs of America for this opportunity and recognition,” Ashton said. “This scholarship will help me in my journey of becoming a child life specialist. It also means that I can spread my story and kindness, not only in my small community, but also at a national level.”
Preventing bullying and promoting kindness is a cause that’s deeply personal to Ashton.
“Throughout my school experience, I was bullied because of a speech impediment. With the help of my family, therapist and the supportive staff at my local Boys & Girls Club, I was able to feel better about myself,” she explained. “Because of my personal experience and others who have shared their stories with me, I want to see an end to bullying.
“It’s important, that no child feel the way that I did,” she added. “I believe every child deserves to a live a happy, amazing life and feel they are good enough. Whether in the classroom, at home or on social media, many youths in America lack positivity in their lives and only hear the negativity.”
Ashton joined Boys & Girls Club of Rochester as a third grader and credits its staff for encouraging her to become a better person and achieve what she thought she couldn’t. She ultimately became her high school's student body president, as well as a basketball and football varsity cheerleader, marching band and color guard member, and a full-time Running Start student.
Paying it forward, Ashton joined the staff at the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester in 2018 so she “could make lasting impacts on children, many of whom need a positive role model in their lives.”
“I’ve taught my group that no matter how the person looks, speaks or acts, to never judge them and to treat everyone with the same compassion and kindness,” Ashton said, noting that those interactions have inspired her to continue to work with children and pursue a career in that field.
In recognition of those efforts, Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State named Ashton its Washington State Youth of the Year 2021 and Boys & Girls Club of Rochester nominated her for the Planet Fitness scholarship.
Since 2017, Planet Fitness has awarded a total of $650,000 in scholarships. Recipients were selected based on a personal essay, staff recommendation and video submission representing how they demonstrate and perpetuate values of kindness, acceptance and respect.
“This academic year has been difficult for so many students, and I’m humbled by how these scholarship recipients have been able to persevere through all types of obstacles,” said Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau. “As home of the Judgement Free Zone, Planet Fitness is honored to recognize each of them for making the world a kinder, more inclusive place. There’s no doubt in my mind that all 30 students will continue leading by example and spreading kindness for a brighter tomorrow.”
“We are thrilled to honor students who are furthering our shared mission of spreading kindness and helping others to reach their full potential,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of America President and CEO Jim Clark. “Our priority has always been improving the lives of every kid and teen that walks through our doors, and we couldn’t be more excited to award these scholarships, in partnership with Planet Fitness, during a year that has been difficult for so many.”
Since 2016, together with its franchisees, members and partners, Planet Fitness has donated more than $5 million to support anti-bullying, pro-kindness initiatives. As part of the program, the Company has funded first-of-its-kind pro-kindness and bullying prevention trainings for Boys & Girls Clubs of America professionals and youth, engaged in volunteer efforts and built welcoming gym spaces known as “Mini Judgement Free Zones” in select Boys & Girls Clubs of America throughout the country.
To learn more about the Judgement Free Generation or find a Planet Fitness club near you, please visit PlanetFitness.com/giving-back.
About Planet Fitness
Founded in 1992 in Dover, NH, Planet Fitness is one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the United States by number of members and locations. As of March 31,
2021, Planet Fitness had more than 14.1 million members and 2,146 stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Panama, Mexico and Australia. The Company’s mission is to enhance
people’s lives by providing a high-quality fitness experience in a welcoming, non-intimidating environment, which we call the Judgement Free Zone. More than 95% of Planet Fitness stores are owned and
operated by independent business men and women.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has provided a safe place for kids and teens to learn and grow. Clubs offer caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development
programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Boys & Girls Clubs programming promotes academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. More than 4,700 Clubs serve
4.6 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America on Facebook and Twitter.
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For interviews with Alizabeth Ashton or Planet Fitness officials, contact Caryn Sagal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-363-9583.