Annika Sorenstam to Visit East Harlem School to Support Wellness Transformation Project

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Children’s fitness event to be held at The Children’s Storefront in New York City

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SPARK Physical Education Programs

SPARK and The First Tee are great programs that teach kids the importance of regular physical activity and many life skills.

World Golf Hall of Fame member Annika Sorenstam will talk to East Harlem grade school students about the benefits of physical activity and the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle on Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at The Children’s Storefront in New York City.

The event, organized by the ANNIKA Foundation, SPARK, and The First Tee, will give students the opportunity to interact with Annika in fun activities and hear about her passion for health and wellness.

Annika is the national spokesperson for both SPARK and The First Tee’s Nine Healthy Habits. SPARK is the leading elementary physical education program for children, used by over 100,000 teachers across the country. The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits is a new health and wellness framework for young people that will be implemented in The First Tee programs, which reach young people in more than 4,200 elementary schools and 700 golf locations around the country. Each company has donated its programs for The Children’s Storefront to use as part of their physical education curriculum for the year.

"The best way to live a healthy and active lifestyle is to develop good habits and routines at a young age," said Annika. “SPARK and The First Tee are great programs that teach kids the importance of regular physical activity and many life skills. My dream is that all schools in America would be like The Children’s Storefront in this regard.”

The Children’s Storefront is an independent, tuition-free school in Harlem serving pre-school through 8th grade. This year, students and teachers at The Children’s Storefront are part of a school-wide wellness transformation project led by two California State University, Chico professors, Dr. Cathrine Himberg (founder of CASPER) and Dr. John Roussell, who are completing the project as part of their sabbaticals.

Drs. Himberg and Roussell are developing a documentary of this project, which will educate administrators, parents, and policymakers on the role of quality physical education lesson plans and comprehensive school wellness programs on children’s health, academic achievement and behavior in school. Annika’s visit is part of their “No Excuses!” approach to turning around the nation’s obesity trends and promotion of overall wellness and lifelong activity.

The event will be held outside in front of The Children’s Storefront at 70 East 128th Street, New York, NY. In case of rain, the event will take place in the common room (clusters 1 & 2) and the church gym (cluster 3).

Schedule of Events

10-10:30 a.m. - Cluster 1: Pre-K, K and 1st grades (54 students)

10:30-11 a.m. - Cluster 2: 2nd-4th grades (approx. 54 students)

11-11:15 a.m. - Break

11:15 a.m. -12 p.m. - Visit and spend time with students during lunch (Pre-K, K, 1st, 2nd)

12-12:30 p.m. - Cluster 3: 5th-8th grade (72 students)

12:30-1 p.m. - Tour of Children’s Storefront with Annika

Members of the media are encouraged to attend the event on Monday, Oct. 3 at 10 a.m. Annika and the students will engage in several SPARK and The First Tee activities. Please RSVP by calling Julie Frank at (619) 804-4009.

About SPARK (http://www.sparkpe.org)
SPARK is a public health organization, providing research- and evidence-based physical education, after-school, early childhood, and coordinated school health programs for pre-K through 12th grade students. One of SPARK's biggest drivers is turning around America's booming obesity epidemic. SPARK has been honored as an Exemplary Program of the US Department of Education, was the only program recommended for physical education and activity by the HSC Foundation, and has been identified by the CDC as a successful model for combating childhood obesity, among other honors. The organization also helps schools find physical education grants to better their curriculum. To learn more about SPARK's efforts and successes in encouraging healthy lifestyles among America's youth, visit http://www.sparkpe.org.

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Billy Beltz
SPARK
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