Many AFH athletes feel most passionate about helping children and teens become more physically active. AFH offers many volunteer opportunities for athletes who want to help kids become more active in school and after school programs. Active Schools has a network of more than 20,000 schools and provide opportunities to speak with students about the importance of daily physical activity and lead fitness activities. Marathon Kids is another AFH partner that engages students in weekly running goals with prizes awarded for each marathon (26.2 miles) completed. Lastly, AFH created its own physical activity program, Power Up! which engages students on a monthly basis throughout the school year.
Three years ago, Athletes for Hope, Retired NBA player and current NBA G-League Coach Awvee Storey, and KIPP DC partnered to launch the Power Up! Program, with the goal of encouraging and inspiring third and fourth grade students to exercise a minimum of 60 minutes per day. Our program is modeled from the Active Schools program design, which encourages schools to reduce childhood obesity and improve health outcomes as an “active school.” The Power UP DC program utilizes professional athletes to disseminate this message as retired and active athletes across many sports participate in the monthly program.
Over the past two years, the Power Up! program has now expanded to additional schools in Washington, D.C. and Houston, and this fall, five new schools in Baton Rouge, LA will become part of the program. Athletes such as Pro Soccer player Megan Oyster, professional runner Maddie Kopp, and professional softball player Nerissa Myers have played integral roles in making the Power Up! Program a great success over the last few years. Additionally, a large group of college athletes from LSU and Southern University will join the program this fall.
If you are looking for a regular volunteer opportunity and are interested in bringing the Power Up! Program to a school in your city, please let us know! We would be glad to help organize everything and work with the schools. A program guide and talking points will be provided to you before your involvement begins. Let’s expand this program across the country!
It’s been another great year for the AFH Fit program! AFH Fit encompasses all of the charitable work that AFH members perform in the physical fitness space, including key partners Active Schools, Marathon Kids, and Power Up. This year, there were 132 AFH Fit Visits between these programs. There were 51 visits to 28 different Active Schools, 57 visits to 25 different Marathon Kids clubs, and 24 visits to 3 different Power Up Programs. Forty-six athletes visited AFH Fit programs representing USATF, USA Skiing, Skateboarding, NWSL, NFL, NBA, NHL, WTA, and Softball. The visits took place in 31 different markets ranging from Philadelphia, PA to Phoenix, AZ to Seattle, WA to many more cities in between.
Our AFH U teams were very involved with AFH Fit visits this year. Eight teams from three different schools visited Active Schools, Marathon Kids, or partook in Community Events. In Lansing, Michigan State Field Hockey did twelve Active School visits between two schools and Michigan State Men’s Soccer did nine Active School Visits. In Baton Rouge, LSU Volleyball did six Active School and one Marathon Kids visit and LSU Swim and Dive took part in a Community Event. Also in Baton Rouge, Southern University Baseball, Softball, Volleyball, and SAAC all took part in an AFH Fit visit.
This year, AFH Fit partnered with Marathon Kids for the first time. AFH members engaged with Marathon Kids via in-person visits and online engagements. Many of the in-person visits were running sessions or special events speakers session. Often times, running sessions occurred during recurring visits. For example, Shannon Boxx of the USWNT visited West Tualatin Elementary School three months in a row to host running sessions. The online engagement occurred as a part of the Amplify Austin fundraising campaign. It was spearheaded by Sanya Richards-Ross of USATF visiting the Marathon Kids run-a-thon.
Three years ago, former professional basketball player Awvee Storey came to us with an idea to help the kids in an underserved area in DC. He knew that there were very few options for after school activities at a local school and he wanted to change that. The Power Up Program was born.
Filling the Void:
Awvee and Athletes for Hope worked with a local KIPP school to create the Power Up DC program. Kids come every month to this structured physical activity program. Awvee and a special guest from the Washington Wizards or Mystics come every month to help lead the activities. Every month, Awvee and a special guest from the Washington Wizards or Mystics lead students in our structured physical activity program.
Not only has Awvee helped fill the void for after school programming, but we have been able to prove with the data we have collected that the program is positively impacting the kids. The program is down to a science and now we are expanding the program to other schools.
This year, we’ve expanded our Power Up program to new cities and schools. In addition to the original KIPP D.C. location, we have partnered with the Monumental Sports Foundation to bring the program to Hendley Elementary in D.C. as well. Awvee will continue to participate in both of the D.C. locations monthly. We are also excited to announce that our newest Power Up program was launched in Houston, Texas and led by professional softball player Nerissa Myers.
Nerissa will follow Awvee’s lead and bring in guests for the monthly school activities. As a member of the Scrapyard Dawgs, Nerissa will be able to encourage her teammates to volunteer for the program. We can’t wait to see the great things Nerissa and her teammates will do in Houston.
One of the best things about the Power Up Program is that it offers athletes like Awvee and Nerissa a solid way to build real relationships in their communities over time. We see our athletes expanding Power Up all over the United States. If you are interested in learning more about how Awvee and Nerissa are making a difference and how you can do the same, please contact our team. We will work with you to see if the Power Up Program is a good fit for your time commitment and your overall philanthropic goals.