* From a press release…
Governor Bruce Rauner and Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, announced [yesterday] the three winning schools that will each receive a state-of-the-art Live PositivelyTM Fitness Center. This multi-million dollar physical fitness campaign has named Abbott Middle School in Elgin, Drake Elementary School in Chicago and Lincoln Middle School in Rockford as Illinois’ most outstanding schools for demonstrating new and innovative ways for promoting student physical activity and wellness.
“Healthy habits begin in childhood, and these new fitness centers will help students build a solid foundation of physical activity at a young age,” Governor Rauner said. “With childhood obesity rates in Illinois among the highest in the nation, it’s imperative we take steps to reverse the trend. I’m happy to see three Illinois schools benefit from this public-private partnership, and thank Jake and the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils for providing them with this incredible opportunity.”
One of the greatest features of this program is that the Live Positively Fitness Centers are fully funded through public/private partnerships with companies like Coca-Cola, Anthem Foundation and Nike; and even better, there is absolutely no government funding or any costs to taxpayers.
“Childhood obesity is not a partisan issue; it’s a kids’ issue, and Governor Rauner has fully embraced our program and it’s been inspiring,” said Jake “Body by Jake” Steinfeld. “Since 2012, the National Foundation has provided fitness centers to more than a MILLION school kids and community members across the U.S.A. We are thrilled to award three Illinois schools with new fitness centers that will have a lasting impact on kids well into their future. I’ve always said that when you give the schools the tools, amazing things will happen. Not only will kids become more active and fit, they will also have increased confidence, improved self-esteem and will achieve greater academic success!”
The National Foundation’s goal is to build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world. Physical activity and exercise are shown to help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases, enhance individual health and quality of life and reduce health care costs. In schools, studies show that physical activity improves academic achievement, increases confidence and self-esteem, reduces discipline problems, cuts absenteeism and fosters better interpersonal relationships.
That’s great news for those schools.
* But I wondered what Emily Miller at Voices for Children thought. Miller (no relation that we know of) is a tireless and relentless Statehouse advocate for kids. Here’s her take…
Given this announcement, the Governor seems to understand that some state investment and commitment is necessary to put kids on a healthy path. I agree with him that “healthy habits begin in childhood.”
I wonder, though, if the Governor is aware of his record on supporting programs for kids. Afterschool programs provide combinations of academic and physical fitness programs to get kids off on the right track, headed toward academic success– the same goals the Governor praises in his announcement of the winning schools. But he totally eliminated afterschool funding in his budget, then vetoed $13 million in state funding that came over in the spending plan from the General Assembly.
I wonder if the kids who used to go to the Rockford YMCA will be invited over to use Lincoln Middle School’s new gym since they don’t have anywhere else to go? Or maybe the kids who used to go to the Elgin YMCA will be invited over to use the new gym at Abbott Middle School?
The Rockford YMCA already closed its doors, and the Elgin YMCA program shutdown will coincide with the start of the school year. Any Chicago afterschool programs receiving state afterschool money were also cut completely.
“… Governor Rauner has fully embraced our program and it’s been inspiring.”
Oh, yes. I’m truly inspired.
* Emily also sent this along today…
The attached spreadsheet contains survey results from 35 TeenREACH agencies (of about 122 sites) from this last week. As you can imagine, lots of sites are dealing with how to communicate what’s happening to their kids, parents and staff, so survey response was not perfect. This is a fairly accurate picture of what’s happening across the state, and what’s about to happen.
In total, teen reach served about 15,000 youth in 2015 at about 122 sites across the state.
Between this, child care cuts, and cuts to human services across the board, it’s going to be a very, very rough “back to school” season this year for Illinois families.
Click here to read the survey results. It ain’t pretty.