GoodLife’s good works focus on kids’ fitness
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.