Black Girls Jump: Chicago organization brings generations together by teaching double Dutch

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Monday, March 4, 2024
Black Girls Jump organization helps youth jump into a healthier future
In June, the team is planning to participate in their first national tournament in Cincinnati.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago organization is working to helps Black girls jump into healthier futures.

From push-ups to handstands, the girls are masters of jumping between two rapidly twirling ropes.

Black Girls Jump teaches students at Horace Mann Elementary School how to double Dutch.

"The goal is to get over the rope and stay over the rope,"

Double Dutch is rooted in Black urban culture. It was popularized in the 1970s.

Essentially, two people hold two ropes, moving them in large circles towards each other. Then at least one person will jump in while the ropes cross.

"My grandmother actually taught me how to double Dutch," Black Girls Jump Founder Ayana Haaruun said. "I can't think of another game that brings generations of women together to engage in a sport."

Haaruun founded Black Girls Jump ten years ago and says it brings more than just smiles to the girls' faces.

"We want them to develop their leadership skills, preservation, sorry perseverance skills," Haaruun said. "Teamwork skills. Their self-esteem goes to the roof when they are really good at something at jump rope."

It's not just about building confidence but also creating healthy habits.

Heart disease and diabetes are two of the leading causes of death in Black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Black Girls Jump aims to change that statistic.

"It's a pretty incredible activity to do jump rope is high intensity cardio," Haaruun said. "It helps their legs their muscles their strength their heart."

Junior Coach Cherish Dollarson says she hopes to keep double Dutch alive by starting her own team one day.

"People be like 'double Dutch is old,' or 'that's amazing that you know how to do double Dutch,'" Dollarson said. "You wouldn't think that double Dutch is a thing that you would see our generation who works with electronics do."

"We are able to finally take them to travel to a jump rope tournament," Haaruun said.

"One day, maybe, some of these children will be part of the team USA when jump rope is a part of the Olympics."

The Obama Foundation awarded Black Girls Jump more than $48,000 in January to help expand the program.

In June, the team is planning to participate in their first national tournament in Cincinnati.

To learn more about Black Girl Jump, click here.