GoodLife’s good works fo­cus on kids’ fit­ness

National Post (Latest Edition) - - MOST ADMIRED CORPORATE CULTURES -

As a part of its com­mit­ment to build­ing strong and healthy com­mu­ni­ties, GoodLife Fit­ness is in­volved in nu­mer­ous phil­an­thropic and so­cially re­spon­si­ble ini­tia­tives. The com­pany’s char­i­ta­ble ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude fund­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and preven­tion, pro­mot­ing autism re­search and sup­port, and cre­at­ing af­ford­able fit­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for veter­ans.

But per­haps the way in which GoodLife’s good will can have the big­gest im­pact is by en­cour­ag­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of Cana­di­ans to make phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity part of their life­style. “What GoodLife re­ally cares about is chang­ing lives, and we help make that hap­pen for kids too,” says Lisa Bur­rows, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of GoodLife Kids Foun­da­tion, from the com­pany’s head of­fice in Lon­don, Ont. “We be­lieve that by pro­vid­ing re­ally pos­i­tive phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity ex­pe­ri­ences early in life, we in­crease the like­li­hood that kids will want to stay ac­tive and cre­ate fit­ness habits that will last a life­time.”

GoodLife Kids Foun­da­tion ( goodlifekids. com) has made a dif­fer­ence in the lives of al­most 250,000 Cana­dian kids through phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity op­por­tu­ni­ties. The foun­da­tion fo­cuses on three main pro­grams: The GoodLife4Kids School Pro­gram, now in its se­cond year, sees GoodLife Kids Foun­da­tion coaches go into part­ner schools, free of charge, to men­tor teach­ers and pro­vide fun fit­ness ac­tiv­i­ties for Grade 4 classes. The pro­gram runs ei­ther dur­ing gym class, reg­u­lar class time, re­cess or be­fore or af­ter school, on a reg­u­lar ba­sis that suits each in­di­vid­ual lo­ca­tion.

“Grade 4 seems to be the year just be­fore kids start get­ting into sports ac­tiv­i­ties that are more struc­tured,” says Bur­rows, not­ing that about 75 schools will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gram by June of this year. “This pro­gram builds ba­sic fit­ness skills and puts kids in the po­si­tion to be mo­ti­vated and suc­cess­ful in those next years, whether in sports or other forms of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.”

The foun­da­tion’s grant pro­gram pro­vides fund­ing for on­go­ing phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity pro­grams with a fo­cus on pro­grams serv­ing chil­dren with spe­cial needs. Grants im­prove com­mu­nity ac­cess and help re­move some of the bar­ri­ers pre­vent­ing chil­dren from liv­ing ac­tive lives. The an­nual Win 4 Kids con­test (win4kids. com) in­vites the pub­lic to nom­i­nate pro­grams in their com­mu­ni­ties that are get­ting kids ac­tive. Ten fi­nal­ists get to share $ 100,000, with the amount of money awarded to each group de­ter­mined by an on­line vot­ing process. Con­test re­sults will be an­nounced March 5 dur­ing the foun­da­tion’s an­nual Spin4Kids Plus in­door fit­ness fundrais­ing event, tak­ing place in more than 65 lo­ca­tions across Canada.

Teenagers rep­re­sent an­other im­por­tant seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion that ben­e­fits from GoodLife’s com­mit­ment to get­ting all Cana­di­ans fit and ac­tive. Ev­ery July and Au­gust, through the Teen Fit­ness pro­gram, young peo­ple be­tween ages 12 and 17 can use all GoodLife Fit­ness clubs from coast- to­coast for free be­tween 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The pro­gram was cre­ated as a way to give back to com­mu­ni­ties and help es­tab­lish healthy habits in youth. More than 60,000 teens reg­is­ter for the pro­gram each year.

GoodLife4Kids school pro­gram coach Anne-Marie Cal­houn catches her breath af­ter a fit­ness class with phys­i­cal education team Pa­trick De Vuono and el­e­men­tary stu­dents from St. John Vian­ney School in Rex­dale, Ont.

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