Who is Project Fit?
Project Fit America (PFA) is a national (501) (c) (3) non -profit organization that creates and administers exemplary fitness in education programming in elementary and middle schools. Under this umbrella we address self-esteem, fitness and exercise as fun, understanding their body, as well as, leadership, sportsmanship and character development. The program goal is to reverse the lack of fitness in youth to give teachers the tools they need to teach children to take responsibility for their health and embrace healthy lifestyle choices with enthusiasm. Our mission is to get kids fit and to create programs that assure every child will find something at which they are very good at and inspire them to participate in more fitness activities. We create the opportunity for all kids, not just the already gifted athletes, to discover, explore, improve and be recognized for their physical, mental and fitness efforts and performance.
The vast majority of our sponsors have been hospitals and healthcare organizations. Since our founding sponsorship drive we have raised over $14,508,000. As of 2017 this has resulted in the development of exemplary fitness programs in nearly 1,000 schools, 300 cities, 46 states with over 500,000 kids impacted!
Why is Project Fit Needed?
What the Studies Show: U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Obesity
- Nearly half the young people 12-21 years of age are not vigorously active, moreover, physical activity sharply declines during adolescence. Childhood may thus be a pivotal time for preventing sedentary behavior among adults by maintaining the habit of physical activity throughout school years. Every effort should be made to encourage schools to require daily physical education in each grade to promote physical activities that can be enjoyed throughout life.
- Over twenty million children are overweight by an average of 8.3 pounds.
- Childhood obesity has tripled since 1980.
- One in six American children are classified as physically underdeveloped.
- More than half the girls and one quarter of the boys ages 6-17 cannot run a mile faster than walking.
- Seventy percent of girls in this age group cannot do more than one pull up, and fifty five percent of the boys cannot do even one.
- Forty percent of American children aged 5-8 years show one or more risk factors of heart disease including: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low cardiovascular endurance.
This lack of fitness and health awareness in children contributes to many problems cited by schoolteachers. Examples cited include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of self-esteem in children, which contributes to poor choices.
- Aggressive behavior in children, which contributes to classroom disruptions and playground fights.
- Experimenting with unsafe diet practices (fasting, diet pills, anabolic steroids).
Washington Post - "How Obesity Harms a Child's Body"
What happens inside a child or teen's body carrying excessive pounds.
In addition, every year over 930,000 Americans suffer heart attacks. These adults were fitter as children than our children are today. Heart disease is this nation's number one killer, with one in four Americans showing risk factors. Furthermore, the obesity epidemic has become a critical health problem, second only to tobacco. These are preventable health problems, which are costing taxpayers over $100 billion per year.
We create exemplary fitness in education. The total funding required to sponsor a pilot and model school program is $18,206. This is inclusive of the entire two-year program with absolutely no hidden or additional costs. Our goal and driving purpose is to create new and sustainable opportunities for kids to be active, fit and healthy as part of the everyday school experience. This is accomplished through educational programs and equipment, that will allow the school to successfully teach fitness education year after year. PFA will provide and implement the following components at the selected school(s):
1. State-of-the-art outdoor, above ground fitness equipment. UCLA specifically designed to address all the deficit areas where children fail fitness tests. The equipment becomes the permanent property of the school. Shipping to the school site is also provided. 2. Indoor Mobile Fitness Equipment. Our Indoor fitness equipment is mobile as indoor facilities vary from school to school. Some have gyms, other use multipurpose rooms, and so on. Our indoor equipment is comprised of the following:
- 1,000 Fitness Cups. These are fitness cups for explosive cardio, team work, challenge and cooperation with the kids. These cups are a PFA innovation.
- A squad set of 3 lb weighted hoops. They are weighted, multicolored and feel like wetsuit material. Great for sustaining upper body strength training and cardio
- A squad set of 5 - 3 lb medicine balls
- A squad set of 5 - 6 lb medicine balls
- A squad set of 5 - 2 lb weighted jump ropes
3. Lesson Plan Support Materials:
- Pacer Cadence CD. [Pacer (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run)]
This activity provides outstanding cardiovascular conditioning and training as kids shuttle run from 43-60 feet to a “beeped cadence” trying to get from one end of the measured run to the next before the beep goes off. The beeps progressively become faster and kids have a blast earning rewards to the number of up and back laps they could do. Even the students who hate to run, love this cardio challenging activity.
- 6 sets of Laminated Skeleton Bones. For use in one of our most popular Fitness Cup Lesson plans, $10.00 and a Bone.
- $250.00 in Play Money. For use with Fitness Cup lesson plan, $10.00 and a bone.
- PE Music CD. Favorite music that teachers and kids love which builds nicely into the “movement and dance” component of our program.
- Certificates, Ribbons, Starter Kits for Word Walls, and Chart and Challenge student accomplishment display. We provide these reward and incentives to each PE Teacher so they can create motivating wall charts and hallway displays that get the kids super excited to participate in activities and have their name featured for all to see!
4. Core Curriculum. Created by former Project Fit America grant recipients for future Project Fit America grant recipients. Lessons have Essential Questions for students as well as NASPE standards for each lesson are clearly identified. This book has also been approved by theScience Committee of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a partnership between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation. 5. Teacher training at the school site with PE Mentor Teacher from PFA. This is an all day-eight hour session to commence the program in year one and a second all day booster session in year two. The PFA Mentor Teacher is assigned to school for a two-year period and works both on site as well as via mobile and online. This allows each school to progress and sustain their programming to higher levels and allows for the kind of support needed to launch any new endeavor. If needed, a substitute teacher fee is paid to the school to aid support to the PE teacher(s) on the day of the in-service. 6. Testing and Evaluation. Our staff works directly with each school to assure the measurement component is fulfilled. Each school will pre and post test one class at 3 different grade levels and follow those students through the program. The data is analyzed by Sonoma State University, Department of Mathematics and Statistical Consulting and reports are compiled for each school as well as national school averages. 7. Custom Grant Program for each Sponsor’s service area for school site selection. Unless a sponsor has an existing relationship with a school partner(s), we typically conduct a custom grant program for school site selection.Each sponsor gives us the geographic area where they want this program implemented and we will invite all schools, grades K-8, to apply to be the school(s) selected as your exemplary partner and model for fitness in education. This is a competitive process that creates a level playing field and allows for each school to share their story. Each applicant creates an academic plan for incorporation of fitness in education, assure teacher “buy in” and school wide commitment to creating sustainable programming to assure generations of students are impacted by this program. 8. Community Outreach. PFA will work with your sponsorship to create events and activities, which will engage the parents and community to focus on their own personal health and that of their children. This will include guest speakers at the school, a family lecture series on health topics, and support from media as well as civic and state leaders. Typically these events and activities include and highlight the sponsoring organization. We will host a community wide media gallery and ribbon ceremony to dedicate the program and have the students provide a demonstration of their new found fitness skills and talents. Parents, teachers, civic and state leaders along with the media will take part in this host event.
PFA was established twenty five years ago and is unique in that a majority of all of our Sponsors have been hospitals, healthcare agencies, and/or health conscious corporations.
The PFA program is designed to be a permanent program in each school developed, as the need to get children fit will never diminish. PFA will work with your sponsorship to fully train the teaching staff and integrate the program in the school curriculum. At the end of the program, the school will be able to run PFA without any outside intervention. Your school(s) will join the other 850+ PFA schools across the country that use PFA well beyond the two year sponsorship as part of their regular school day activities. Years from now you will see PFA in action with your sponsored school!
How Do We Get Project Fit At Central Avenue?
PFA does not come into schools intrusively. Each school designs their own program usage that they feel best suits their school plan and teaching objectives. We support their school plan academically and the sponsor supports the plan economically and with any other health resources they elect. This process of school site implementation is accomplished through a narrative submission, or custom grant program.
The Custom Grant Program
Each PFA sponsor will delegate a geographic area where they would like to sponsor schools. This is typically in their primary service area. PFA sends letters to each school in this geographic area indicating funds are in place which will allow PFA to donate our program to a designated number of schools. Each school in a sponsor's community invited to apply will submit a five-page grant describing why they need PFA, how this will benefit their school, their proposed plan for project implementation, and plan for partnership with parents, the community and sponsor. The grants are then submitted to an independent committee of physical education teachers that we ask to donate their time to review and award the grants. This creates a level playing field and allows the most motivated and dedicated schools to receive programming. These awarded grants become the very road map we use to understand and support the school setting for PFA.
Grant programs are launched in the fall and spring.
Partners in Education/Adopt-a-School (Other Methods of School Site Selection)
Many schools have established Partners in Education. These are area corporations or businesses that have adopted individual schools for support. These partners may donate to PFA for their adopt a school exclusively. However the school must still submit a narrative for approval. It is imperative PFA understand the school environment and implementation plan if we are to support the campus properly and help the improvement in the students' fitness education.
Registering Your School or District with PFA
If your school/district is interested in bringing PFA to the community, please let us know. This aids our fund development. Registration forms are clustered by region and help PFA identify "hot spots" throughout the country where we should be focusing our efforts. In addition, we will be able to match school registration forms with sponsor registration forms that may be in the same region.