Implementing Healthy Lifestyles Initiative
The Philadelphia Chapter of HOPE Worldwide, an international charity which delivers sustainable, high-impact, community-based services to the poor and needy, expanded their youth mentoring program and character building program called Saturday Academy to include Healthy Lifestyles Initiative. One of their goals was to educate and motivate children on the importance of health, physical activity and life skills. Their goal: to prevent obesity later in life. The Department of Education Physical Education Program offered anchor funding and an AmeriCorps grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service provided up to 40 members to serve as program assistants and mentors.The Saturday Academy and After-School program provides an early intervention program for identified at risk youth to participate in a mentoring program that focuses on healthy lifestyles. They are currently serving as many as 1000 kids on a daily basis with the goal of increasing physical activity with 70% of the schools' population. Some of the innovative elements of this new program include:
- Purchasing complete fitness rooms for each school providing tread mills, nautilus machines and stationary bikes
- Including games such as Dance Dance Revolution, XaviX and Wii sport game systems in these fitness rooms.
- Building on the youths' personal interests by encouraging activities such as double dutch and step teams as well as hiking, swimming, and rock climbing through field trips.
Hope Worldwide is partnering with Temple University to evaluate the program and Temple's Surroundcare program provides medical students and a pediatrician who oversees health councils and health fairs for our Schools.