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Active Schools, a nationwide movement dedicated to ensuring 60 minutes of physical activity is the norm in K-12 schools, honored Ergotron, Lakeshore FoundationNational Center for Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) and Marathon Kids with its Partner of the Year Award.

The Active Schools Partner of the Year Award recognizes organizations that have prioritized the cause of active schools and supported schools in implementing physical education and physical activity best practices during the past year. The awards were presented as part of the 2017 Partnership for a Healthier America’s Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington, DC.

“Active Schools is a collective impact initiative. Our accomplishments are the result of the many contributions made by our health, education and private sector partners,” said Charlene Burgeson, Active Schools Executive Director. “Ergotron, Lakeshore-NCHPAD and Marathon Kids have demonstrated leadership, innovation and commitment to creating active schools for all kids. We are proud to recognize them as outstanding partners.”

Active Schools is powered by a national collaborative of 42 health, education and private sector organizations that work together to help schools create active school environments that provide children with at least 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after the school day.

Ergotron has been an active and enthusiastic partner, working to promote movement, increase awareness of the negative impact of sedentary school environments and introduce low-level physical activity — in the form of standing desks — into  classrooms. The sit-stand technology furniture manufacturer believes that kids, as well as adults, are meant to move.

“Enabling active school and work environments is at the core of Ergotron,” says Bob Hill, Education Manager, Ergotron. “Partnering with Active Schools is a natural fit. Our mutual objective is to create awareness and understanding of the sedentary problem, while introducing a solution that can make a difference with our youth. Together we have also identified an underserved student population that urgently needs physical activity intervention — secondary school students.”

Lakeshore-NCHPAD’s mission is based on the belief that physical activity is essential for individuals with disability to lead healthy, active and independent lives. They’ve played a critical role in mobilizing resources for social change and elevating awareness in support of inclusive physical education and physical activity environments.

“Any day the world acknowledges the needs of people with disabilities is a great day,” says Dr. James Rimmer, Director, NCHPAD. “We proudly accept this award on behalf of the six million students in our nation with disabilities — as well as those who have been fighting for inclusion for much of their life. We thank those who came before us in the disability movement to make this even possible; they are as much a part of this award as we are.”

Marathon Kids is small but mighty organization that helps kids unlock their potential by providing them with the motivation, tools and support to live happier, healthier lifestyles. This year’s Active Schools Marathon Kids grant program was the single largest grant making opportunity executed by the initiative to date.

“This partnership has allowed us to take our programming to a scope beyond what we had ever imagined,” says Ray Blue, Director, Marathon Kids. “It’s been catalytic! Partnering with Active Schools has enabled us to quickly evolve into a larger, more effective organization. I feel humbled and grateful to play with such an incredible initiative.”  

Since its February 2013 launch, more than 32,000 champions in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have enrolled in Active Schools, reaching more than 23,000 schools and 12 million students. The Active Schools movement encourages involvement by all who care about active, healthy and happy kids.  To join, go to www.letsmoveschools.org. Everyone has a role to play!

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“Goal-setting,” “challenge,” “motivation,” “stronger,” healthier,” and “discovering a new athletic capability” are some of the new words used by Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF) staff, students, parents, teachers and Principals this year. This Marathon Kids season, two ICEF schools, based in Inglewood, CA, partnered up with Marathon Kids to instill a joy for running in their students. ICEF focuses on college readiness by way of a 3 A’s approach in academics, arts and athletics. It’s clear based on their Marathon Kids success that ICEF “walks the walk” in their approach to creating an environment focused on athletic achievement and physical activity.

Two ICEF teachers set out at the beginning of the school year to lead their kids on a journey to complete 104.8 miles in the Marathon Kids program – a feat many adults haven’t accomplished! Sarah Jimenez, from ICEF Inglewood Academy had 21 runners. All of her runners hit their first marathon goal and many are still running on their journey to complete their second, third and fourth marathons. Sharrol Garcia, from ICEF Innovation had 96 students in her Marathon Kids program. She’s seen improvements in behavior and participation, and notes that most importantly, resilience as a key indicator of student achievement has improved.

Here are some words that Coaches, Principals, parents and students had to share about their participation in Marathon Kids at ICEF schools this year.

“Marathon Kids has made amazing progress this year. 7 year olds have been able to accomplish goals that people usually don’t ever complete in their adulthood! The students are taught to make short-term (2 miles-twice a week) and long-term goals for the year (complete an entire marathon – 26.2 miles). Regardless of the setbacks such as cancellations due to the rain, students always want to meet their goal. Some students wear their pedometers during their recess time, and others get to take it home. Every time they open their pedometer and see the amount of steps they’ve taken, they become even more so motivated to achieve their goals. I am amazed at what these 7 and 8 year olds have accomplished and how they are driven to do their best”. -Sarah Jimenez, Inglewood Elm. Physical Education teacher

“Marathon Kids has had such a positive impact on our scholars.  They are excited about exercising and being healthy.  They often share with staff members and their classmates how far they’ve run.  It’s so great to see our scholars motivated to reach their goal and maintain healthy habits!” -Ms. Lincoln, Inglewood Elm. Principal

“I signed up my son Manuel to Marathon Kids because he wasn’t getting any extra physical activity. He was tired the first few weeks after practice, but then he became really passionate about it. He would tell me after class how many miles he had done, and how many more he had to finish each marathon. He is in love with Marathon Kids!” -Maria, Inglewood Elm. parent

“Marathon Kids has made a tremendous impact on my students this year. My students not only enjoy being in the club, but they are eager to reach and surpass their running goals as well. Marathon Kids has given my students something to look forward to after school and has provided them with a fun, healthy outlet. I know they have truly enjoyed being a part of it! Thank you Coach Sarah for all your hard work and dedication to this program!” -Ms. Dancosse, Inglewood Elm teacher

“I liked it when I finished my first marathon. I like it when we play fun games like freeze tag, and when we run track and field on goNoodle. I liked being athlete of the week and getting my Athlete of the Week certificate and bracelet. I like how when we get hurt Ms. Sarah gives us an ice pack or band aid and takes care of us.” -Darryon, 2nd Grade, Inglewood Elm. student

“Throughout our school’s participation in Marathon Kids, we have been encouraging students to make good choices in their interactions with others, as well as realize how their actions can affect others in positive ways. Building character is an important skill that they learn through the running club. They also experience first-hand the love and support from friends and family as a result of being a part of the club. Our children have truly experienced something special this year and have developed into more confident, more active and healthier students!”. -Sharrol Garcia, ICEF Innovation Physical Education teacher

“The Marathon Kids program has improved student engagement and awareness of being healthy and physically active. We are excited to see our kids active and inspired to be physically fit” -Mr. Lemle, ICEF Innovation Principal

“Marathon Kids is fun. I have fun and made lots of friends and love running. It’s my new favorite thing!” -Nia, ICEF Innovation student

Have a story about how your running club has created change in your community? Let us know by emailing programs@marathonkids.org.

ABOUT MARATHON KIDS

Marathon Kids is on a mission to get kids moving. The nonprofit organization offers free physical education programming through Marathon Kids Connect, a cloud-based PE and run club management platform that includes a mobile app for digital activity-tracking.