Los Angeles students get at-home physical education kits

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Alana Prisco
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Since most schools will be starting remotely this fall, many students will not have access to traditional physical education. That's why UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind (SBSM) partnered with several local organizations to provide Los Angeles area students with at-home physical education kits. About 3,500 kits were distributed to students and families the week of August 10th. As schools prepare for the fall semester online, SBSM aims to extend access to health and fitness resources for families of high need.

"Unlike textbooks and online devices, there really is no budget for providing students with physical education equipment while they're at home," said Matt Flesock, executive director at UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind. "Our partners were able to quickly come together to help us make this happen prior to the school year kicking off."

SBSM and partners provided 3,000 kits across six Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) school sites through the Beyond the Bell Grab and Go food distribution program.

  • Los Angeles Academy Middle School
  • Audubon Middle School
  • Glenn Hammond Curtiss Middle School
  • Gage Middle School
  • Columbus Middle School
  • Roy Romer Middle School

The home physical education kits targeted middle school students and items included a reusable tote bag, towel, water bottle, frisbee, racket and tennis ball, face mask, yoga mat, playground ball, resistance band, jump rope, cones, hand sanitizer, and bilingual fitness and health related resources for students and their families.

The equipment was provided by UCLA Health, Beyond the Bell, the Lakers Youth Foundation, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, USTA – Southern California, SEE-LA, Play Equity Fund, Gopher Sport, Gorilla Marketing, and Radd Solutions. This effort was made possible by donations from donors and foundations.

"At the Lakers Youth Foundation, we believe in the power of sports, as well as health and fitness to bringing balance in the education of today's youth. It is important that we do not forget this during COVID," said Kiesha Nix, executive director of the Lakers Youth Foundation. "While our communities are sheltering in place, we want to ensure they have the resources needed to stay physically fit, which also leads to better mental wellness."

Physical education is the only class that encourages physical activity. It promotes cognitive function, well-being, and social-emotional health. Many studies have shown that physical activity improves academic performance.

"Physical activity is one of the many ways our community can improve their health," said Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Chief Operating Officer, Chaitali Gala. "Partnering with UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind during a disruption of this magnitude has highlighted just how important community work really is and the scale we can achieve when we work together."

UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind is dedicated to combatting childhood obesity by providing middle and high schools with comprehensive physical education programs with state-of-the-art fitness centers, innovative exercise and nutrition curricula, and professional development for physical education teachers. SBSM is in more than 137 Los Angeles area schools and impacts than 170,000 students annually.