DECEMBER 2013 - GET INSPIRED!
Miami–Dade County Public Schools is All in for Physical Activity
Via The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and written by Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami–Dade County Public Schools
The 350,000 students of Miami–Dade County Public Schools (M–DCPS) deserve the opportunity to be physically active where they live, learn and play. We know
that having early, positive experiences with physical activity sets students on the course for life. Daily physical activity not only helps children stay
healthy, it can also enhance important skills like concentration and problem–solving, which can improve academic performance and promote success in the
classroom–and in life.
Earlier this year, First Lady Michelle Obama elevated this issue of providing students with opportunities to be physically active. Identifying the school
environment as an integral setting to get children moving, the First Lady announced Let's Move! Active Schools–a multi–sector collaboration to support
school teachers, administrators and staff to bring physical activity into the school day. With the launch of the program, she challenged school leadership
to sign–up their local schools or districts.
Taking Mrs. Obama's challenge to heart, less than three weeks after the launch, our district committed to sign up all 350 schools in M–DCPS for Let's Move!
Active Schools. Thanks to the hard work of our school leaders and staff, including our District Director of Physical Education and Health Literacy, Dr.
Jayne Greenberg, I am proud to say that we have enrolled 100% of our schools in the program, becoming the largest urban district to do so.
As a Superintendent, I know firsthand the many challenges that schools or school districts face across the country. Budget cuts and limited resources drive
us to make tough decisions on a daily basis. But, what I have learned is that cutting physical education or physical activity out of the school day is not
the solution. In M–DCPS, our team works tirelessly to ensure that opportunities are available to students and staff of all backgrounds and abilities. As a
result, we have seen tremendous progress in our students' physical activity and fitness levels. Students are healthier, more confident and demonstrating
healthy behaviors outside the school walls.
While changing your school environment and culture may seem overwhelming, the great news is that Let's Move! Active Schools can help address these
challenges. By spurring innovative solutions and offering customized tools every step of the way, schools will have the necessary resources to make
incremental changes that will have a lasting impact.
I encourage you to sign up your local school or district for Let's Move! Active Schools at www.letsmoveschools.org. Remember, every child deserves a chance
to grow up healthy and strong. These opportunities will help kids be active and learn the love of movement, which will sustain them for a lifetime.
Participant Spotlight: Kaelin Kolb – Motivation, Preparation and Determination Key to Accomplishing Goals
On March 1, 2013, 23–year–old Kaelin Kolb set out to thru–hike the 2,185.9 miles of the Appalachian Trail. She would spend the next 203 days overcoming
both physical and mental obstacles to accomplish her dream. Two of the biggest challenges she faced were: a bout with tendonitis and the weather.
One month into her hike, Kaelin started experiencing a sharp pain near her left ankle. She had bodily pains on the Trail before but nothing like this.
Luckily, she was only six miles from the nearest town. After seeing a doctor, who told her that it would take anywhere from two weeks to months to heal
properly, she decided to rest her ankle for two weeks. During that time, she thought about her pre–hike preparations. "Even though past thru–hikers had
tried to console me saying, 'Almost every hiker gets some type of injury that takes them off the Trail for a while', I feared that my hike was over. I
started beating myself up in a sense, questioning whether I had prepared myself enough physically."
Before her hike, Kaelin completed two strenuous at–home fitness programs. "I knew now was the time. I had not been leading a very healthy
lifestyle, and if I wanted to accomplish my dream, I knew I needed to improve my cardio and strength." While doing the programs, she also adopted healthier
eating habits, which together helped her lose 17lbs. Kaelin stated, "I really noticed a difference in how I felt physically and mentally. I realized
exercising and eating clean can help me feel more energized and confident."
After resting her ankle for two weeks, Kaelin was able to leave town and continue hiking through the snow, wind, rain, and anything else Mother Nature
threw her way. She quickly learned that, although she could control certain things like her pre–hike preparations, she could not control the weather.
Kaelin said, "You're exposed virtually 24/7, so you learn to deal with it because you have to." She continued, "I'm not perfect; I definitely yelled at the
sky sometimes out of frustration, but afterwards I would stop and calmly think to myself, 'It is what it is; I can't control the weather, but I can control
how I react to it'."
Kaelin believes this mantra helped her complete her thru–hike and has helped her continue to lead a healthier lifestyle since her return home. "I came back
the fittest I've ever been, and I don't want that to change. I want to continue these healthy habits, and I know that's something I can control."
Currently, Kaelin tries to eat a balanced nutritious diet centered mostly on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, with meat and dairy in
moderation. She also tries to exercise daily but doesn't beat herself up if she misses a day or two. "The Trail taught me that trying is what matters; if
you sincerely try, eventually you'll reach your goal, one step at a time."
Advocate of the Month – Caron Butler's 3D Foundation
Caron Butler's 3D Foundation honors students who exemplify his personal principles: determination, dedication and discipline–the 3Ds to success. Two–time
NBA All–star Caron Butler took these elements of basketball and translated to his life: Dedicated to work hard for the goal, Determined to achieve a goal
and Disciplined to stay focused on the goal. He tries to inspire kids to do the same thing. The 3D Foundation has partnered with the YMCA in his hometown
of Racine, Wis., to hold a 3D basketball camp and to create the Caron Butler Youth Basketball League. These events and additional ones throughout the year
support and encourage youth to lead a healthy lifestyle and to get active.
Share Your Inspirational Story With Us!
How has the President's Challenge made a difference in your life, school or community? Please email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for our "Get Inspired" feature.