HOUSTON —Lamar Consolidated School District teachers, administrators and students were on hand Wednesday to celebrate the launch of Project Fit America at Bowie Elementary.
Representatives of Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation were also in attendance for the event. Memorial Hermann funded the grant that brought $20,000 of indoor and outdoor exercise equipment to the Rosenberg school.
“This is a great partnership between Memorial Hermann, Project Fit America and the Lamar Consolidated School District because it is about getting children active and moving,” said Carol Paret, Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health Officer at MHCBC. “We’re seeing more and more children who are inactive and living sedentary lifestyles. This can lead to obesity and other health issues down the road. As a healthcare provider, we want to address this issue on the front end by encouraging exercise as well as healthy eating and life habits to prevent these children from acquiring chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems as they age.”
Project Fit America is a national nonprofit organization that creates sustainable and innovative broad based fitness programs in schools. PFA programming includes state-of-the-art outdoor fitness equipment specifically designed to address the deficit areas where children fail fitness tests; indoor fitness equipment; a dynamic curriculum with games, activities and challenges; on-site teacher training and in-class instruction on subjects such as smoking intervention, nutrition and understanding your body.
The celebration of fitness included a ribbon-cutting and students demonstrating exercises on the school’s new outdoor fitness equipment.
“Lamar CISD believes in educating the whole child, both physically and mentally,” Superintendent Dr. Thomas Randle said. “A healthy body helps build a healthy mind.”
All Bowie students have been taught how to use the outdoor equipment and how the activity benefits their bodies, physical education teacher Jessica Risien said.
“Everyone at Bowie is excited about this new program,” Bowie Elementary Principal Belynda Billings said. “Especially the students. Some of the younger ones don’t realize that is actually good for them. They think it is just a new way to play and that’s what we are excited about.”
Risien said the initiative goes beyond traditional fitness and is also is helping them build social skills, character and leadership skills.
It’s not your average gym — the activities are both fun and intense, the district said.
The PFA program includes:
- State-of-the-art fitness equipment specifically designed to address the deficit areas;
- Indoor fitness equipment; and
- A dynamic curriculum with games, activities and challenges for kids.
The program teaches character development, sportsmanship, teamwork and leadership skills. The academic emphasis is to create “physically educated” children empowered to take personal responsibility of their health. PFA also provides support to the schools for two years, along with on-site training with the PE Teacher.
“Research shows not only is physical education important for a child’s physical development, it actually helps kids with reading and math,” said Stacey Cook, Executive Director of PFA. “Physically active kids are better learners. Quality fitness in education has a direct impact not only a child’s health but their academic success.”
Cook said the district is extremely grateful to Memorial Hermann for their commitment in bringing this program to the community and for their dedication to improving the health and wellness of children.
The outdoor exercise equipment will be available to the general public when school is not in session.