NEW YORK – World Golf Hall of Fame member Annika Sorenstam headed to East Harlem on Monday to speak with grade school students about the benefits of physical activity and the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle. The event was hosted by the Children’s Storefront in Harlem, New York City.
The event, organized by the ANNIKA Foundation, SPARK and The First Tee, gave students the opportunity to interact with Annika in fun activities and hear about her passion for health and wellness. She exercised with them using the school’s new SPARK equipment (donated by School Specialty) and taught them golf tips. Annika talked to the kids about eating healthy and what they do to stay active.
Annika is the national spokesperson for both SPARK and The First Tee’s Nine Healthy Habits. SPARK is the leading physical education program for children, used by over 100,000 teachers across the country. The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits is a new health and wellness framework for young people that will be implemented in The First Tee programs, which reach young people in more than 4,200 elementary schools and 700 golf locations around the country. Each company has donated its programs for The Children’s Storefront to use as part of their curriculum for the year.
“The best way to live a healthy and active lifestyle is to develop good habits and routines at a young age,” said Annika. “SPARK and The First Tee are great programs that teach kids the importance of regular physical activity and many life skills. My dream is that all schools in America would be like The Children’s Storefront in this regard.”
The Children’s Storefront is an independent, tuition-free school in Harlem serving preschool through 8th grade. This year, students and teachers at The Children’s Storefront are part of a school-wide wellness transformation project led by two California State University Chico professors, Dr. Cathrine Himberg and Dr. John Roussell, who are completing the project as part of their sabbaticals.
Drs. Himberg and Roussell are developing a documentary of this project, which will educate administrators, parents and policymakers on the role of quality physical education and comprehensive school wellness programs on children’s health, academic achievement and behavior in school. Annika’s visit is part of their “No Excuses!” approach to turning around the nation’s obesity trends and promotion of overall wellness and lifelong activity.
Other partners on this project include Healthy Kids Challenge, a nationally recognized non-profit led by an exemplary team of licensed dietitians with many years of school, program and community wellness experience and Healthy Lifestyle Choices, a health education program proven to significantly increase health knowledge and positively impact youth behaviors.
About School Specialty
School Specialty (NASDAQ: SCHS) is a leading education company that provides innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to help educators engage and inspire students of all ages and abilities to learn. The company designs, develops and provides PreK-12 educators with the latest and very best curriculum, supplemental learning resources and school supplies.
School Specialty’s SPARK is the leading provider of evidence-based physical education, physical activity and coordinated school health programs to schools serving Pre-K through 12th grade students. More than 45 research publications have validated the SPARK program’s effectiveness, and it is the only National Institutes of Health-researched program that has been determined to positively affect youth activity levels, fitness, sport skills, enjoyment and academic achievement. More information about SPARK can be found at www.sparkpe.org.
About The First Tee
The First Tee (www.thefirsttee.org), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. With its home office at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., The First Tee reaches young people on golf courses, in schools and on military installations. Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has introduced the game of golf and its values to more than five million participants in all 50 United States and six international locations. The First Tee is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation and its Founding Partners are LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and the USGA. Former President George W. Bush serves as honorary chair.
Dr. Cathrine Himberg is the founder of the Center for Advancement of Standards-based Physical Education Reform (CASPER), a grassroots, non-profit organization comprised of over 1400 REAL (Responsible Educators Accountable for Learning) teachers, parents, school administrators, and others concerned about quality physical education. CASPER advocates for quality physical education taught by REAL teachers. On its website, supportREALteachers.org, CASPER provides free tools and resources for teachers, and information for parents and administrators about quality physical education. The project at Children’s Storefront will serve as a model for CASPER’s “Adopt a School” program.
About The Children’s Storefront
The Children’s Storefront is an independent, tuition-free school in Harlem with more than 45 years of providing a comprehensive education to children of varied academic strengths from preschool through eighth grade. The work of the Children’s Storefront is grounded in the conviction that every child deserves the opportunity for an excellent education and the belief that a lack of financial resources should never deprive a child of a top-tier education. The organization works in partnership with families and community members to prepare children academically, socially and emotionally for further education, empowering each child to reach his or her potential. The Children’s Storefront inspires the imagination, creativity and love of learning inherent in all children and promotes values of hard work, mutual respect and service to society in a structured and joyful environment. The Children’s Storefront provides the support tools that are individually tailored to ensure each student’s success and is focused on each student’s daily achievement as a step towards a better future.