Team Healthier Generation is an endurance and fundraising team, sponsored by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which helps individuals pursue their fitness goals while raising money to end childhood obesity. What began as a pilot program in 2012 has grown rapidly over the last three years—this year raising over $50,000 to date in support of the Alliance’s work with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals, and families to build healthier environments for millions of children.
And this is just the beginning. This year, 22 runners from eight states joined Team Healthier Generation to run the NYC Marathon on November 1. And 150-175 runners are expected to participate in the 2016 race season.
We asked Kim Terry, an elementary school principal and participant on Team Healthier Generation, to tell us about her experience training in support of the Alliance:
Why did you decide to run in the NYC Marathon?
My husband is my biggest supporter, my motivation, and my real-life hero. He joined the Navy in 2000 and, in the first 11 years of his service, he was deployed seven times. In February of 2011, he was deployed to Afghanistan with Naval Special Warfare. On June 28, I received the call that military spouses dread—my husband was blown up and shot while on foot patrol with three others. The incident left him with a Traumatic Brain Injury, loss of fine and gross motor skills in his left arm and hand, and the loss of his right leg below the knee.
Health and fitness had always been a major part of his life, and he continues to look to it as his guiding force during recovery. I see the pain on his face when he wakes in the morning, but once he gets moving and is active, things seem to get better. He is an amazing role model to our children — I also want to be a role model and show my kids that when you make healthy choices in life, things are easier and more fun. I don’t want to be the parent that tells my kids to be strong and healthy; I want to be the parent who shows my kids how to be strong and healthy. That also goes for “my kids” in my school community.
Tell us about how you first got involved with Team Healthier Generation.
In 2014, Pershing Hill Elementary partnered with the Alliance to help us create a healthier environment for our students. Through this partnership, I was introduced to Amy File, our Healthy Schools Program Manager, who assisted us along this wellness journey. Amy was instrumental in our transformation, both as a resource as well as our biggest cheerleader. Amy is also the person who encouraged me to join Team Healthier Generation. In one of our meetings, we discussed my desire to run a marathon and be a model of health and wellness for my school community. With her encouragement, I signed up for the NYC Marathon and I’m so excited to complete this challenge.
Why are you supporting the Alliance in your run?
I’m grateful to be able to support the Alliance because the work they do is near and dear to my heart. As a mother of three and an educator to many, the Alliance’s work to empower the health and wellbeing of children is much appreciated. Our children are our future, and the investments we make early on set the stage for them to have long, healthy, and successful lives.
Why should other people get involved with Team Healthier Generation?
Getting involved with Team Healthier Generation is a great way to connect with like-minded people across the country who want to make a positive difference and improve the health of our children. It’s also a great opportunity to build your own confidence by going outside of your comfort zone and accomplishing a goal. And Team Healthier Generation helps you along the way by providing training tips, encouragement, and a support network of friends. And it’s all in the name of healthy kids!
What advice would you give to school or community leaders who want to inspire others to live healthier?
“Be the change you want to see in the world!” This is one of my favorite quotes, and words that I try to live by. I believe that if you want to inspire others, you can’t just talk the talk; you have to walk the walk. That’s what we try to do at Pershing Hill Elementary, and why we partnered with the Alliance and Team Healthier Generation. Leading by example encourages students to be more active and engaged in learning. It also inspires other teachers to make positive life changes. Together, we can create a culture of health that will help this generation—and many more—live happier and healthier lives.
Team Healthier Generation is currently recruiting members for 2016 events. Members can sign up for the L.A. Marathon on February 14, the Kentucky Derby Marathon on April 30, and Bay to Breakers 12k on May 15. Not interested in running? Members can also choose their own event and hike, bike, or swim their way to their fitness goals.