Greetings, Hope College! With the New Year in full swing, I’ve noticed a lot of people trying to carry out their New Year’s resolution of exercising more at the gym. Not only are Hope students trying to be more active, other people in the Holland community are attempting to improve their overall health as well. I’m apart of a new program here at Hope called Foundations for Fitness, where a student becomes a mentor to a child for ten weeks. The goal of this program is to establish some healthy habits in the child while encouraging them to be more physically active and hopefully making it fun at the same time! So far I have only met with my mentee for two weeks and in that amount of time, we were able to create some goals and focus on areas he wants to improve on, such as balance and endurance.
In order to participate in the program, each student (usually between the ages of 6 and 12) had to go through assessments before beginning. Such assessments include heart rate, blood pressure, waist circumference, height and a quality of life survey. Following this assessment, the child and their parent are involved in about ten weeks of introduction to equipment in the special facility in the Dow while starting some exercising before the subsequent ten weeks of working with a student. After the whole program is finished, another assessment will be taken to see the amount of improvement in the child.
As briefly mentioned, the ten weeks of physical activity with a mentor takes place in the Dow in a room above the pool. I did not even though this room existed until I was told to go to a certain part of the gym. What’s really cool about this room is that it is filled with a bunch of fun equipment such as free weights, Dance Dance Revolution, ellipticals, basketballs, steps and bicycles that provide energy for an Xbox. I thought that was extremely clever to have the game powered by human energy!
Once a child is paired up with a mentor, it is up to the mentor and parent to figure out what time to meet up at the Dow each week. Typically, each meeting with the child and his/her parent is 90 minutes, once per week. Depending on each person’s availability, more meetings can be made if possible. This program is awesome in so many ways! It’s promoting a healthier lifestyle but it also is fun because a child has someone to look up to that isn’t a parent and is closer to their own age. I know I would have had a blast with this if the program was created when I was child. I strongly recommend getting involved in any way possible if this is something of interest to you. If you have further questions about the program, feel free to reach out to me and I can lead you in the right direction!
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