Engaging Youth in Physical Activity in Kailua, Hawaii

Reposted from the Fire Up Your Feet Blog:

For Max and Mikey, twin brothers and third graders at Ka’elepulu Elementary in Kailua, Hawaii, staying active is an important part of their family’s lifestyle. The boys enjoy running with their parents and taking hikes on Hawaii’s lava fields. When their family decided to participate in Fire Up Your Feet, the boys discovered the fun in keeping track of their activity throughout the month – and using it to motivate each other and their parents to find more ways to be active together.


Max and Mikey hike the volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

“I like Fire Up Your Feet because it is fun to track my exercise and it helped me feel more awake during testing,” Mikey said. “It’s making us stronger and we have a fun time,” added Max.

Max and Mikey’s mom, Lisa, is the PTSA Vice President at Ka’elepulu. Lisa was drawn to Fire Up Your Feet because it seemed like an easy way to raise money for the school’s PE program. Unlike other schools where PE is funded by the school district, at Ka’elepulu it’s up to the PTSA to raise money if they want to fund the staff position and purchase PE equipment.

“We are so appreciative of what Fire Up Your Feet offers for Ka’elepulu,” said Lisa. “The best part is giving the kids a chance to be involved in raising money for their school by being active and healthy.”

Lisa’s whole family took advantage of the online tracker to motivate each other to be active. “It was like a fun competition between the four of us, and the kids really liked being able to track and add up the miles and minutes,” she said.

Even dad Eric got in on the action. “My twin boys love to keep track of how their old man is keeping up. I’ve lost a few pounds and the whole family is outside everyday, including our 3 dogs!” he said.

Thanks to great participation from the whole school, Ka’elepulu won second place in the 2014 Spring Challenge. The PTSA plans to use the award money to purchase new equipment for the PE teacher – and they will definitely be signing up again next fall!

Creating A Stronger School Wellness Policy at Northmont Elementary with Fire Up Your Feet

Reposted from the Fire Up Your Feet Blog

FUYF_2One of the fun things about starting down the path to school wellness is that each step leads you to new discoveries and ideas for creating a healthy, active school. For Iris Hix, a parent at Northmont Elementary School in La Mesa, CA (outside of San Diego), it all started when she learned about her school receiving a Safe Routes to School grant about a year ago. Soon after, Iris and her family got involved with a weekly walk to school each Friday, with students and families meeting at a nearby park and picking up other walkers along the route.

This spring, Northmont participated in Fire Up Your Feet for the first time. When Iris visited the website and began browsing the resources, she learned about school wellness policies and realized she wasn’t even sure if Northmont had a policy of its own. As a parent, Iris knew she was in a good position to take action, so she read up on all the resources and started doing more research of her own. She found that the school did have a wellness policy, but it was “hidden beneath paperwork” and in need of some updating.

Iris’s research informed her about about the Healthy Kids Act and its implications on the federal and local levels, and the role that parents and the community play in creating a strong wellness policy. She learned about the Farm to School program and made connections with the child nutrition director in Northmont’s school district. Now, she is working with a team of people to revise the policy and strengthen the wording.

“We have made other connections with local groups that work in the wellness policy field, and our PTA is working together to invigorate our school wellness policy,” said Iris.

Northmont won a $1,000 challenge award thanks to strong participation in the spring Fire Up Your Feet challenge. And the rewards go beyond the money. Thanks to the involvement of parents like Iris, the PTA and the supportive principal and staff, students at Northmont will benefit for years to come from having a strong, community-centered school wellness policy that promotes physical activity and healthy eating.

“We walk and bike to school, Run for Fun, dance and play hard to stay happy and healthy. Now we are starting to coordinate this wellness effort, we will work to make healthy choices into habits and make changes in our school community that everyone at Northmont Elementary will be FIRED UP about!!!” said Iris.

Congratulations, Northmont!