Health and Fitness Column

Salvation Army offers youth fitness programs

By John Taylor | Sep 10, 2013
Photo by: File John Taylor

If you are a parent looking for health and fitness programs to your children in, you may want to contact The Salvation Army.
The well-respected charitable and religious organization recently announced it has expanded its wellness programs by 65 percent since 2008, and now offer youth a variety of health-related classes through the “Kroc Fit Kids” program.
These wellness opportunities range from fitness and athletic programs, to community gardens, to nutrition and cooking classes.
“People in poverty deserve access to health resources to combat obesity and live long lives,” Commissioner William Roberts, National Commander for The Salvation Army, said in a press release. “The Salvation Army has grown its mission to encourage wellness for all – for the mind, body, and soul.”
The Salvation Army is considered one of the country’s top charities, with an average rating of “A-” on Charitywatch.org, which monitors charities’ giving.
The Salvation Army reports that 87 percent of their facilities participate in the “Kroc Fit Kids” program, which allowed 183,000 U.S. school-aged children to attend summer and day camps in 2013. In most cases, children who met certain financial requirements attended these camps free of charge.
The “Kroc Fit Kids” program also offers after school and weekend programming during the traditional school year. Based on a 2012 internal survey from Salvation Army administration, it was found the most popular program offerings included Zumba, basketball, cooking, nutritional education, community gardens, swimming and martial arts.
Though The Salvation Army reports there has been a 25 percent increase in program offerings since 2012, 54 percent of its locations stated local donations have not kept up with the increasing demand for new programs. As a result, some Salvation Army locations have not been able to increase their offerings in the “Kroc Fit Kids” program.
Though there are no Salvation Army facilities in Western North Carolina currently participating in “Kroc Fit Kids,” there are in-state locations in Durham, Ewa Beach, Kinston, Reidsville and Rocky Mountain.
Growing up in a poor household, my family often relied on The Salvation Army to provide us with Christmas gifts, Thanksgiving meals, back-to-school clothing, and they even paid our power bill from time-to-time. Now that I’ve learned they are offering health and fitness programs to combat childhood obesity for underprivileged youth, I find myself getting a little emotional when I think about the number of children that will benefit from these program offerings.
I hope my boss doesn’t mind that I’m going to be late for work tomorrow. I’m out of stamps, and need to go to the post office to mail my check to help keep the “Kroc Fit Kids” program in business.
But just to be safe, I’ll bring in a pumpkin-spice coffee to smooth things offer. Thank goodness for seasonal beverages.

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