Sound Body Sound Mind celebrates 20 years of supporting school fitness programs in fight against child obesity

Photo credit: Todd Cheney

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UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind, a physical education community outreach program dedicated to fighting childhood obesity by supporting fitness programs in middle and high schools, celebrated its 20th anniversary at a dinner held at the Luskin Center at UCLA on October 4.

The event featured keynote speaker Christine Simmons, president and COO of the Los Angeles Sparks, and guest emcees Michelle Beadle and Max Kellerman of ESPN.

More than 380 guests attended the sold-out event, including UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, Dr. John Mazziotta, vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and CEO of UCLA Health, and Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System.

“Tonight we not only celebrate our 20th anniversary, but also the success and completion of our foundation’s $3 million fundraising campaign,” said Bill Simon, cofounder of UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind, at the event. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind fitness centers will light a path to better health for middle and high school students in Los Angeles for many years to come.”

The celebration opened with a performance by students from Palms Middle School ballet folklorico, a group that uses physical education to improve their dance movements. Stephanie Camacho, a senior at Arleta High School, spoke about how her strength and conditioning class helped her gain confidence, lose weight and join the school’s softball team. Principal Michael Terry of Alfonzo B. Perez Career Transition Center spoke on the transformational impact the Sound Body Sound Mind fitness center has had on his school, his students and his own health.

Sound Body Sound Mind promotes self-confidence and healthy lifestyle choices among today’s youth. As UCLA Health’s largest community engagement program, it collaborates with under-resourced communities to address childhood obesity and inactivity by providing high quality fitness resources to Los Angeles area schools. The comprehensive physical education program includes state-of-the-art fitness centers, an innovative curriculum and professional development for physical education teachers.

The program is in 141 schools nationally and serves more than 170,000 students annually. More than 750,000 students have participated in the program since its inception in 1998. Cindy and Bill Simon created the Sound Body Sound Mind Foundation that year and partnered with UCLA Health in 2015.

To learn more or to donate, visit www.uclahealth.org/soundbodysoundmind.

(In photo from left to right: Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, Carol Block, Bill and Cindy Simon, co-founders of Sound Body Sound Mind and Dr. John Mazziotta, vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and CEO of UCLA Health, attend the 20th anniversary celebration of Sound Body Sound Mind. Photo credit: Todd Cheney.)