New sports program to help girls with self-esteem

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GAALAfter Dawn Berkowitz-Ader realized her two young daughters were uncomfortable playing sports, she developed the Girls Athletics And Life Skills (GAALS) program in Long Island. The program helps elementary-school aged girls learn a life skill while also learning a physical skill.

A Forest Hills mother, Maria Mastromarino, sent her twins to Berkowitz-Ader’s program last year and felt the girls adapted so well that she worked with Berkowitz-Ader to expand the program to Forest Hills.

Some of the physical activities include hula-hoops, softball, lacrosse volleyball and karate. Each activity will balance out with a life skill, such as communication and leadership. For instance, through playing basketball, the girls will also have a discussion about perseverance. Mastromarino will also be co-teaching the classes.

The classes begin in September. On Saturdays, classes will be held at P.S. 196 on 71-25 113th Street, and at Grace Lutheran Church at 103-15 Union Turnpike on Tuesday afternoons.

For more information, including pricing, visit

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