On March 9th, on the East side of Austin, 6 professional and Olympic athletes took time out of their busy schedules to visit Brooke Elementary, to encourage kids to exercise and stay active. Brooke Elementary is a neighborhood school where 96% of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunch. It is also a community of kids and administrators who are trying new and innovative ideas to keep kids engaged and learning. With this in mind, we connected former WNT soccer star and Olympian Kristine Lilly, former NFL player Octavious Bishop, Olympic Decathlete Trey Hardee and Olympians Sanya Richards Ross, Kendra Chambers and Fiona Asigbee with the kids. First, the athletes stood up and shared a little about themselves. Octavious shared his struggle in academics as a child and how he was able to turn it around and earn his PHD. Trey Hardee talked about being cut from his basketball team, only to become a gold medal winning Olympian. Their inspirational stories were followed up with fun physical activities with the athletes. We truly enjoyed facilitating this athlete visit – the largest visit of this type we have ever coordinated. Hats off to Brooke Elementary students and administrators for making us feel so welcome.
Two years ago, Athletes for Hope partnered with KIPP D.C. – a charter school in the D.C. area – to help empower kids in some of America’s toughest neighborhoods. KIPP D.C. schools are tuition-free, open enrollment schools, which actively recruit and educate students in the city’s most educationally underserved communities.
Awvee Storey, former basketball player of the Washington Wizards and coach for the Washington Mystics, learned about AFH from our staff and training with the WNBA powerhouse. He knew that there was a need in D.C. for empowering kids and he stood up to the plate. Although Awvee just moved to California, the kids from KIPP Charter School in D.C. weigh heavily on his mind. Every single month, from October to May, Awvee boards a plane and flies to D.C. to volunteer his time with the kids. We asked what makes this program so important to him.
“I once was one of them, and to have a professional athlete give them the time each month to come to my school would mean everything to (me) and them. It helps them see athletes in a different light other than on TV,” said Awvee. He says of the kids, “They come to me every time and tell me how they have improved in their school work and attitudes.”
One of the great things about Awvee’s work with KIPP D.C. is that he has brought in more athletes to the program as special guests. We asked him how he is able to get so many Washington Wizards players to join him in his visits. Awvee says, “I just ask them. Players understand their value in working with kids so then come. Players tell me they enjoy the time with the kids.”
We asked Awvee what he would say to an athlete considering giving back to others. “If giving back to kids is something important to you, find the time and make it work. Not once but something consistent,” he said.
Thank you, Awvee, for being a consistent presence in the lives of the kids at KIPP D.C. Charter School. We are so grateful for your dedication and applaud you for all you are doing to make this world a better place for kids.
In partnership with Let’s Move! Active Schools (LMAS), and in honor of the 60th anniversary of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, AFH athletes deployed across America last week to help kids go from #0to60. Kicked off by the reigning NCAA champions of UConn Women’s Basketball, our athletes took to schools and social media to inspire the nation’s youth to get at least 60 minutes of activity per day.
While Active Schools Week may have come to an end, AFH athletes will continue to be a presence in LMAS schools for the coming months, engaging with kids and teaching them the lifelong benefits of fitness and activity.
Gary Morgan will visit Timbuktu Academy in Clarkston, MI on the 11th
Marisa Howard will visit Heritage Community Charter School in Boise, ID on the 10th
Jordin Andrade will visit Lake Grove Elementary School on the 5th
Samantha Johnson filmed our campaign kickoff video (link) and will visit her school this week
Thank you to all of the athletes who have given back during Athletes for Active Schools week by filming a video or visiting a school. You have helped encourage kids to get active, given them ideas on new ways to exercise and have inspired kids to be the best they can be in life.
Let’s Move! Active Schools, part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative dedicated to ensuring 60 minutes of physical activity a day is the norm in K-12 schools, today honored Athletes for Hope with its inaugural Partner of the Year Award. The award is presented as part of the 2016 Partnership for a Healthier America’s Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington, D.C.
The Let’s Move! Active Schools Partner of the Year Award recognizes organizations that have actively prioritized the cause of Active Schools and supported schools in achieving physical education and physical activity best practices through the Let’s Move! Active Schools framework during the past year.
Let’s Move! Active Schools is powered by a national collaborative of 35 health, education and private sector organizations that work together through the collective impact framework to help schools create Active School environments that provide children with at least 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after the school day.
Since partnering with Let’s Move! Active Schools in February 2015, Athletes for Hope has facilitated more than 100 school visits where Olympic, professional and collegiate athletes serve as physical activity role models for kids. Also, last fall, Athletes for Hope initiated “Athletes for Active Schools Week,” a campaign that mobilized social media, a #5forPE video challenge and school visits to raise awareness of Let’s Move! Active Schools on a national level.
“This award validates the importance of physical activity to the 3,000 professional, Olympic, and college Athletes for Hope members, and we are truly honored to be recognized,” said Ivan Blumberg, Chief Executive Officer of Athletes for Hope.
Since its March 2013 launch, more than 19,000 schools in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have enrolled in Let’s Move! Active Schools, reaching more than 10 million students. Find out more at www.letsmoveschools.org.
All American, NCAA Division I Steeplechaser, Marisa Howard, visited the kids from Roosevelt Elementary recently. Marisa is not only a fantastic athlete, but by day she is a school nurse! After her visit she explained why she loves giving back to kids in Boise, ID.
Why do you volunteer?
I wanted to volunteer because I wanted to make a connection to the community that has backed my running career. Boise is such an awesome place to live and train and I want people to know that. Getting these students active and thinking about their health at a young age is super important so they can start these habits and build on them into adulthood. I am a part-time school nurse, so it was awesome having both my worlds collide.
What draws you to Let’s Move Active Schools?
The main thing that draws me to this cause is the lack of activity that children are involved in these days. Between long school days and the pull of technology, kids aren’t outside playing like they used to be. I want to stress the importance of getting outside and finding something that you enjoy. My best and favorite part of my day is when I get to lace up my shoes and enjoy the beauty of the trails and I would hope that some of these students can find that same joy in running or any form of exercise.
What was your favorite part of the day?
My favorite part of the day was when we played the tunnel of love! The PE teacher showed me this game where the students all line up and make a tunnel with their feet and hands touching the air and their bottoms in the air, like a reverse V-up. Then a student had to crawl through the tunnel and add onto the tunnel on the other side. The gym was way too crowded but we improvised and the kids made it work! I also enjoyed answering all the questions they had at the end of the visit.
Students from Holiday Park Elementary School in Phoenix hosted N’aithan Scott last month – a 2016 Olympic Hopeful who specializes in the indoor 60 meter hurdles and outdoor 110 meter hurdles. After leading the students in a few track and field exercises, he spent time answering questions from the kids and sharing the importance of exercise and proper nutrition. Here’s what N’aithan said about his Let’s Move Active Schools visit.
Why do you volunteer?
“I love to give back to the kids who look for inspiration. I was once a kid who needed a role model, and now that I have an opportunity to be one I do all that I can.”
What made you choose this charity?
“Active Schools is a great cause. I believe that an active lifestyle is good for everyone. Kids definitely need to enjoy having an active lifestyle so they can continue to be active as they grow older. This cause helps kids understand the importance of being active and I enjoy being a part of that.”
What was the best part of your visit?
“I enjoyed the warm welcome from the kids and the staff, but I have to say my favorite part of the day was during our game of tag. I absolutely love watching the kids have a good time playing and being active. It makes me feel like a kid again.”