Former Redskins running back visits Mitchellville school
Guest was part of initiative to talk about health, engage in fitness activates
Nearly 30 students less than half his age and stature gave Larry Johnson a run for his money in the Kingsford Elementary School gymnasium on Oct. 19.
The former Washington Redskins running back visited the Mitchellville school on to participate in a program offered through the United Way of the National Capital Area that works to educate children about fitness and nutrition.
While the students had to crane their necks to look up at Johnson, they did not let their pint-sized bodies stop them from beating Johnson in activities at the Oct. 19 session.
Johnson participated in all four team-based activities with the students, doing jumping jacks, pushups, running and skipping, among other things.
"I want to see them stay fit and [have] self confidence a lot of people lack self confidence," said Johnson, 30, of Waldorf.
The United Way of the National Capital Area partnered with the Washington Redskins for their community service day Oct. 19, Hometown Huddle, said Euniesha Davis, community impact for the United Way of the National Capital Area. On Oct. 19, all National Football League teams across the country participated in community service projects. Redskins players visited Fun, Fly and Fit sites in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. There are 10 Fun, Fly and Fit sites in Prince George's County.
The six-week program is coordinated by Sandra Osborne, Kingsford's before and after care coordinator, and led by Lauren Miles, the Fun, Fly and Fitness coach.
"They love it," Miles said. "They get stimulated [from the activities]. They think about exercise on a daily basis. With the nutrition part, we try to get them to make conscious food decisions. It's the mind, body, spirit connection they feel confident in their newfound knowledge."
The students in Fun, Fly and Fit, an initiative through the United Way of the National Capital Area that works to educate children about living a healthy lifestyle, are in the school's before and care program. The program meets for 45 minutes, twice a week after school.
About 40 minutes are devoted to activity and about five minutes devoted to a question-and-answer session, Miles said.
Miles will stop leading the six-week program, which began in September, today, but school officials will be trained to continue the program through the end of the school year with a $500 grant from the United Way, said Brenda Neal, the Prince George's County Public Schools program supervisor for the before and after school extended learning program. The grant will cover the cost of recreational and instructional materials to run the program, among other things.
"We just feel good about our opportunity to offer it as part of our opportunity here," Neal said.
Davis said the cost is $3,500 for the six-week program.
Identical twin sisters Ashley and Brianna Dawson, 10, of Mitchellville, who are fifth-graders at Kingsford and in the program, both said they enjoy the program.
"[The program is important] cause we need to learn how that exercising can be fun," Ashley said.
Brianna said she's learned that "your body needs water and water is healthy for you."
Osborne said she hopes the program will expand next year to during the school day, so all students can benefit from the program.
"Our children love it immensely and are surely getting a wealth of information," Osborne said. "The partnership is just brilliant."
The Oct. 19 session ended with a five-minute question-and-answer session, where Miles asked students questions such as "how much water we're supposed to drink," "what happens to rice and potatoes when you eat them" and "what is one thing you can do to live a healthier lifestyle," among other questions. The students knew all the answers.