Wasserman Foundation and Alliance for a Healthier Generation Collaborate on Athlete Outreach to Celebrate Healthy Schools and Out of School Time Settings
(PALM SPRINGS) January 17, 2012 — Casey Wasserman, president and CEO of the Wasserman Foundation, made a pledge today to support the efforts of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to reverse the nationwide childhood obesity epidemic. The announcement was made at Health Matters: Activating Health in Every Generation, a special conference kicking off The Humana Challenge in Indian Wells, CA. Together the Wasserman Foundation and Alliance will collaborate to celebrate healthy schools across America and inspire young people to live healthy, active lives.
Through this new collaboration with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Wasserman Foundation will provide professional athletes as spokespeople for healthy lifestyles and coordinate with the Alliance to celebrate success with personal appearances at healthy schools.
“Together we are reaching an entirely new audience of Americans that is in need of education, inspiration and a positive message about health issues facing young people today,” said Wasserman. “The athletes participating in this collaboration are healthy role models for today’s youth, and everyone at Wasserman is excited to connect our celebrity athletes with leaders in the effort to create healthier schools and communities.”
Today’s announcement builds upon athlete visits at healthy schools in Detroit and Atlanta coordinated by the Wasserman Foundation and Alliance in late 2011. In October 2011, Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Knight visited Mark Twain Elementary, a public school in Detroit, to celebrate the school’s progress in the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program and to rally students and staff to continue cultivating a healthy environment for students and staff, including eating nutritious meals and participating in regular exercise.
“Regular exercise is important as far as being focused and remaining energized,” Knight said. “It helps in the classroom. If you have the ability to go out and release some stress and have some activity, you can come back and it can help you even more with your school work and just growing up to be a mature adult.”
In November 2011, Los Angeles Clipper power forward Trey Thompkins led a school-wide celebration promoting the importance of nutrition and fitness as he guided a group of fifth graders in basketball drills at Palmetto Elementary in Atlanta.
“I’ve worked hard to develop healthy habits that keep me motivated on and off the court,” said Thompkins. “The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s efforts to get kids eating better and moving more is crucial because being healthy is important for everyone, not just professional athletes.”
Thompkins’ visit celebrated the successful transformation of the health and wellness culture at Palmetto Elementary. Students at the school start their day with a physical activity break and teachers incorporate quick fitness exercises into lesson plans. Instead of birthday parties featuring unhealthy food items, Palmetto holds a monthly event that focuses on physical activity and play and features fun activity stations. The school also offers staff members wellness opportunities including a running and walking club and Zumba fitness classes.
“Millions of students and school staff across America are working hard to make their school campuses healthier places to learn and work,” said Alliance CEO Ginny Ehrlich. “Recognizing successful schools with visits from star athletes helps provide the encouragement to sustain healthy changes. The positive attention healthy schools receive inspires others to follow their example. We are grateful to the Wasserman Foundation for providing the spark to showcase schools that have made a commitment to making their campuses healthier places.”
The Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program currently supports more than 14,000 schools and more than nine million students nationwide and is available to anyone — at no cost — who is interested in improving health and wellness initiatives on a school campus. Healthy Schools Program members have access to hundreds of resources including technical tools that enable anyone who makes purchasing decisions about school meals to implement and promote healthier options for students.
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to address one of the nation’s leading public health threats — childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. Founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation, the Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child’s health: homes, schools, doctor’s offices and communities. For more information please visit: HealthierGeneration.org.