St. Mel’s Early Childhood Center in Flushing kicked off an energizing sports and fitness event with their mascot, “Wildcat,” in the school’s playground on Tuesday, June 15.
The event began with a presentation of a $5,000 check from PHIT America that will fund an additional climbing structure to the school’s existing playground equipment. The school was selected for the PHIT America grand prize in their Romero Britto Coloring Contest from over 3,000 entries.
PHIT America also launched Amplify Education Through Fitness or AMPED, a running and walking fitness program at the school.
St. Mel’s Principal Amy Barron was joined by Jim Baugh, founder of PHIT America, Neil Thakur, eastern section community coordinator of the United States Tennis Association and Father Joseph Fonti, the pastor of St. Mel’s Roman Catholic Church.
Students also participated in sports lessons as the school welcomed new sports curriculum programs, sponsored by the United States Tennis Association and the Payne Stewart Kids Golf Foundation. During the event, the students received their first golf and tennis lessons from instructors, and they had the chance to run and walk on the school’s playground track.
“PHIT America is so proud to expand St. Mel’s effort to improve the physical and mental health of their children,” said Baugh, who founded PHIT America to greatly improve the physical and mental health of 50 million children in the U.S. by providing all kids with increased physical activity programs.
“Our goal is to get these kids more active, healthier and learn lifetime sports,” Baugh added.
According to PHIT America, UNICEF has ranked U.S. children last in physical health out of 38 countries. The British Journal of Sports Medicine has U.S. kids ranked 47 out of 50 developed nations in fitness.
“Our charity is fighting the ‘inactivity pandemic’ which is hurting our children. Over 90 percent of all kids are not active to CDC physical activity standards,” Baugh said. “PHIT America has already helped over 1,000 schools and 600,000 children become more physically active and healthier.”
According to Barron, it’s time to get their kids up and moving, which will improve their learning, memory and critical thinking.
“Studies show a positive correlation between high physical activity levels and academic achievement in children,” Barron said. “In addition, physical activity reduces stress levels in our kids, keeping them healthy, physically and mentally strong and happy.”