Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type



Exercise Science

Director of Thesis

Barbara Cuevas, M.P.H.

Second Reader

Sara Corwin, M.P.H., P.h.D.


The goal of our thesis was to use our knowledge as Exercise Science students and personal trainers to improve the health of an underserved population in South Carolina. We created a voluntary exercise and self-defense program for the girls residing at Epworth Children’s Home. The program began on October 1, 2018 and concluded on April 29, 2019 with data collecting taking place between October 8th and March 18th. Every other week SASS Defense taught their self-defense program, and on the alternating weeks we facilitated an exercise class. The program also included a mentorship aspect to create a supportive social environment that encouraged participation, and presentations from outside speakers and guests concerning topics related to self-worth, self-esteem, and physical and mental health. Through the use of surveys that were created by the researchers we hoped to find an improvement in the self-esteem self-worth, and self-perception of physical health of the girls who participated in our program. Survey data was analyzed, and results determined that perceptions of physical health increased over the course of the program, but no conclusion was made on feelings of self-worth due to conflicting data.

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