College track star and Olympic hopeful, Kendra Chambers, stopped by Colonial Hills Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas. She talked about the importance of eating the right foods, exercising, working hard and what it means to persevere.
Kendra was a 4-time All American and 4-time Big XII Champion, running the 400m, 4x400m Relay, and the 800m. She made the switch to the 800m in the middle of her collegiate career at the University of Texas, and now is going to try out for the Olympics this year. We asked Kendra why she decided to give back to kids through the Let’s Move Active Schools movement.
Why did you volunteer?
I volunteered with Athletes for Hope because it’s important that we as athletes give back to the community. The community we train in and live in have plenty of kids who were just like us and looking for that role model or mentor. I hope that I can inspire at least one child when I volunteer my time to go speak to them. It makes it all worth it.
What draws you to this cause?
What draws me to this cause is my story. I was once in their shoes. I remember being in elementary school and l loved to run. But nobody ever explained to me what track and field was until middle school. This cause matters because all athletes were beginners once upon a time and if we can speak to the new generation of beginners and let them know how important it is to be active, to eat healthy, to work hard in school, to join a sport, to get good grades and apply for college, we can be great examples for the next generation.
What was your favorite part of the day?
My favorite part of the day was after I was finished speaking to the kids, on their way out, one little girl said “You are just like me” It seemed to me she hadn’t seen anyone like her do the things she wanted to do in life. She went to explain how she was on the track team and how we shared the same first name, Kendra. But it was more than those similarities that caught her attention and mine as well.
These communities need to see examples of what real successful people look like, that also look like them. We as athletes need to be transparent and tangible because it’s one thing to watch TV or read about role models in books, but when we bring it to the schools and we sit and talk with the kids, I truly believe it can change lives. I may not be a Usain Bolt and these students may never get the chance to meet him, so if I can just tell my story and encourage and inspire them, then we’ve all done our part in serving the community.