School for overweight, obese teenage girls to open in Scottsdale

Jun 13, 2017, 5:00 AM | Updated: 1:20 pm

Follow @GriseldaZetino...

PHOENIX — A school opening in Scottsdale later this year has a program designed for teenage girls battling weight issues.

The Gem Academy — which stands for gratitude, empathy and mission — is a program designed as a private boarding school for overweight and obese adolescent girls. To be admitted, girls must be between 13 and 18 years old. They must also be 30 pounds or more over their healthy weight range.

“The idea is that it’s a health intervention for adolescent girls who are struggling with obesity,” said Jim Hershey, founder and executive director of Gem Academy.

He noted teenage girls who are overweight run a high risk of staying overweight once they reach adulthood, “so this is an intervention point for them to be able to change the trajectory of their life and their health.”

The Gem Academy, which incurs a cost, will allow girls to live on campus for at least six months. While there, they’ll work with a number of specialists, including dietitians, nutritionists, fitness specialists and therapists.

Hershey said the specialists will help the teens “get an idea of how to change behaviors in their lives.” They’ll also help them identify “the things that mean something to them that they can chase after.”

“What we found from working with these kids is that the ones that sustain their health the longest are the ones for whom their health maintenance becomes part of a larger mission,” Hershey said. “That’s our job – to help them find what that may be.”

He said he got the idea for the Gem Academy from working in a similar treatment program for overweight and obese teenage girls in California.

Enrollment for the Gem Academy will begin in the next few weeks, with classes starting sometime in July or August.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures at a campaign rally Saturd...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins Missouri and Idaho caucuses, sweeps Michigan GOP convention

Trump continued his march toward the GOP nomination, winning caucuses in Idaho and Missouri and sweeping the convention in Michigan.

7 hours ago

Maine man, 79, dies while hiking Pyramid Trail in Sedona...

Damon Allred

Gov. Katie Hobbs announces Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan, establishes chief heat officer

Gov. Katie Hobbs announced the state's first Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan, creating the country's first state level heat officer.

8 hours ago

Kacey Musgraves, center, performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Su...

Kacey Musgraves to play Glendale concert in September

Seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Kacey Musgraves is scheduled to perform at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale on Sept. 27.

10 hours ago

Jose Andres Guerrero Talamantes...

Arrest made in fatal hit-and-run case in Carefree from December

Police arrested a man on Friday on felony hit-and-run charges involving death as part of an investigation into a crash that occurred in Carefree.

12 hours ago

Traffic is backed up on Interstate 10 near State Route 347 south of metro Phoenix...

Report lists Phoenix, Tucson among U.S. cities with worst drivers

Two Arizona cities have landed in the top 10 of a national ranking of places with the worst drivers in the nation.

14 hours ago

Caution tape in front of police car....

2 police officers injured in crash with suspected impaired driver in Phoenix

Two police officers suffered minor injuries in a two-vehicle crash in central Phoenix early Saturday morning.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

School for overweight, obese teenage girls to open in Scottsdale