The ANNIKA Foundation is a proud partner with SPARK, the leading physical education program for children in schools. We’ve helped grow the SPARK message and mission of lifelong wellness to include 400 schools (and counting) across Florida and Arkansas, impacting thousands of kids. The ANNIKA Foundation believes that by reaching directly into the schools, we can instill good health and nutrition habits in our youth, and that those habits will lead to a lifetime of benefits.

SPARK offers programs in four major content areas: Physical Education, After School, Early Childhood, and Coordinated School Health. More than 45 research publications have validated SPARK’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. In addition, SPARK has been honored as an Exemplary Program of the U.S. Department of Education, and cited in a Surgeon General’s Report as a “school-based solution to our nation’s healthcare crisis.”


Orlando Sentinel covers SPARK Training, Funding from ANNIKA Foundation Grant

Originally Posted: January 4, 2013 ORLANDO SENTINEL – Orange PE teachers train with golfer Annika Sorenstam

A group of 20 kindergarten to sixth-grade Orange County physical education teachers took part in training with Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam in December. A grant from Sorenstam’s ANNIKA Foundation paid for the new program the teachers were learning.

Called SPARK, the research-based physical education program aims to reduce obesity by making gym class more inclusive, active and fun.


Voting Opens for Healthy School Makeover Contest

This year, the ANNIKA Foundation was awarded $100k through Florida BCBS Promising Practices Grant, allowing us to put the SPARK PE program in 20 local Orange County schools. In addition to this initiative, we have also partnered with SPARK for the Healthy School Makeover Contest. The video entry contest launched in September and opens to public voting today! Since it is election year and everyone is already prepping to vote in our national election, why note exercise your right in another election? The school who submits the winning video entry will receive a $45k physical education school makeover with the SPARK program. Annika will be presenting the winning school with their award in person in December.

VOTE NOW! CLICK HERE to watch the latest entries and cast your vote! 


ANNIKA Foundation awards $100,000 grant to OCPS

ORLANDO – The ANNIKA Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to Orange County Public Schools to implement SPARK, the leading physical education program for children, in twenty elementary schools beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. Funding for this grant was provided to the ANNIKA Foundation by the BlueCross BlueShield of Florida Foundation through its Promising Practices grant program.

“Quality physical education is disappearing in schools across our country, but we want to change this trend in Central Florida,” said Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam, founder of the ANNIKA Foundation. “Experiencing SPARK at school will impact these kids in so many positive ways, teaching them the importance of physical activity, health and wellness.”


A New York State of Mind

President Don Ochsenreiter talks about his visit to Harlem with Annika on Monday.

First impressions may not always be right. My visit to Harlem this week proved that.


Annika Sorenstam visits Harlem grade school


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.


Eight New SPARK Trainers Celebrated in Florida

TAMPA – On Wednesday, eight of Florida’s top SPARK trainers came together at Roland Park K-8 School in Tampa to become Train-the-Trainers (TT) for the Florida Middle School Physical Activity Project. Two of the nation’s top SPARK trainers, Patty Lanier and John Hichwa, joined the TTs for a day-long training session. Each trainer was awarded a certificate on behalf of SPARK and the ANNIKA Foundation.


ANNIKA Foundation awards $37,500 grant to OCPS

ORLANDO – The ANNIKA Foundation awarded five $7,500 grants this week to Orange County elementary schools to fund the implementation of School Specialty’s SPARK Physical Education (PE) program during the 2010-11 school year. Annika visited Hungerford Elementary School to present the awards and lead the children in a fitness lesson with a SPARK representative.


Annika speaks to SPARK trainees

ORLANDO – Annika went to Legacy Middle School in Orlando today to speak to 50 physical education teachers from Orange County and the surrounding area as they completed their two-day SPARK training. SPARK, the leading physical education program for schools, is currently being implemented in 300 middle schools across Florida this spring. Annika is the national spokesperson for SPARK and the ANNIKA Foundation is focused on implementing SPARK in elementary schools throughout the state.


ANNIKA Foundation to advocate PE in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – On Thursday, Annika Sorenstam, the most dominant player in women’s golf; Honorable Mike Beebe, Governor of Arkansas; and Ginger Beebe, First Lady of Arkansas, presented the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission (ATSC)’s awards for its 2010 Child Wellness Intervention Project (CWIP) Grant Program in a ceremony at the Arkansas State Capitol.


ANNIKA Foundation Partners with SPARK

The ANNIKA Foundation will partner with School Specialty’s SPARK Programs to help educate America’s youth about the benefits of physical fitness and proper nutrition. The ANNIKA Foundation selected SPARK as a fitness and nutrition curriculum partner because of its proven, research-based success at positively affecting fitness and influencing healthy behaviors among pre-K through 12th grade children with its award-winning wellness programs.