Saucony Foundation Announces Grant Winners

The foundation has invested nearly $700,000 in grants to 80 organizations nationwide.

From: Running USA

LEXINGTON, Mass. – (March 30, 2011) – The Saucony Run for Good Foundation, established to help combat childhood obesity by providing financial support to community-based youth running programs, has announced its latest round of grant winners. The eight grants include a biannual award presented in the name of 2008 Olympic sprinter and Saucony athlete Wallace Spearmon, Jr. to support track and field programs benefiting at-risk youth. The Wallace Spearmon, Jr. grant was awarded to the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, Massachusetts to support the launch of ten running programs in three urban neighborhoods in Boston.

“Reversing the childhood obesity epidemic will take everyone, communities, schools, families and businesses, working together,” said Richie Woodworth, president of the Saucony Run For Good Foundation Board of Directors and Saucony, Inc. “At the heart of the Saucony brand is our mission: to inspire others to run. We have a passionate belief in the transformative power of running for everyone, including kids. Addressing the issues facing the health of our children through the Saucony Run For Good Foundation represents a fusion of our mission and our commitment to social responsibility.”

The Saucony Run For Good Foundation’s ongoing commitment to childhood obesity reflects the growing concern that Americans have for the health of today’s children. A recent poll on childhood obesity conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and American Viewpoint shows that 80 percent of Americans recognize that childhood obesity is a significant and growing challenge for the country, and 50 percent of Americans believe childhood obesity is such an important issue that we need to invest more to prevent it immediately.

Since the Foundation launched in 2006, it has invested nearly $700,000 in grants to 80 organizations nationwide; all dedicated to promoting the sport of running as a part of a healthy, active lifestyle.

“Changing unhealthy behaviors, including eating too much and exercising too little, cannot be accomplished by our kids on their own,” said Susan K. Hartman, associate publisher of Runner’s World magazine and a member of the Saucony Run For Good Board of Directors. “Hopefully, each of these grants is a small victory in the fight against this growing epidemic, creating greater access and opportunities for more kids to live healthier lives.”

Childhood obesity has increased over 300% in the past 30 years according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. Obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1% during the same time period.

The recipients of the latest round of grant winners range from new running clubs to community developmental organizations, which all have a common goal: to promote running as a critical part of healthy lifestyles among children. The following eight organizations have been selected to receive a Saucony Run For Good Foundation grant:

Anoka Hennepin School District, Champlin, MN

Six years ago, Bryan Sorensen started the Run Club, hoping to teach kids the importance of good nutrition, how to be properly hydrated, how valuable life-long activity is and that running can be fun. This club has goals in the future of increasing the number of students who participate in Run Club at both Oxbow Creek and Champlin Brooklyn Park Academy as well as exposing more kids to running at an earlier age. With this grant, Bryan hopes to make this program available for all students regardless of their family’s current financial position.

Boys and Girls Club, South Boston, MA

The Boys & Girls Club of Boston (BGCB) began serving disadvantaged youth in 1893. For over 117 years, BGCB has been an integral part of the city, providing programs and services that enable at-risk youth to mature into productive, caring and responsible adults. The organization’s mission is to help young people by building their character and helping them realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders. This grant will be used to operate 10 running programs in three urban neighborhoods in Boston.

Fit Kids for Life, Stony Brook, NY

The Fit Kids for Life program is a 10 week, multi-disciplinary fitness and nutritional education program offered to children ages 8-17 who are at risk for cardiovascular disease. The program combines physical activity including running, jogging and walking and progressive resistive strength training with nutritional education and healthy lifestyle behavioral modification strategies. This grant will be used to support and promote the program while addressing the important and contemporary health concern of childhood obesity.

Greenworks, Brooklyn, NY

Greenworks is a community based organization that seeks to improve the overall health and well-being of children living in low-income communities by integrating environmental education and community building into classroom and after-school curriculum. Their program is based on a philosophy of learning that combines the development of academic, cognitive, behavioral and social skills with environmental education and stewardship objectives.

Meeting Street, Providence, RI

Meeting Street was established in 1946 by a pediatrician and educator to educate, treat and care for Rhode Island children with cerebral palsy. In doing so, they developed an interdisciplinary model for educational, therapeutic and developmental services for children with disabilities, developmental delays and children at risk. Meeting Street expanded its educational offerings in the 1990s, opening the Bright Futures Early Learning Center, the first fully inclusive early childhood center for infants and young children with and without disabilities or developmental delays.

Olive Chapel PTA Landlubbers, Apex, NC

The Landlubbers was founded in 2009 when a parent inquired about creating an after-school running program. This club was created to promote the benefits of running, teach team building, advocate a healthier lifestyle, assist with goal setting and teach kids the meaning of commitment, practice and dedication. This grant will be used to provide sneakers, pedometers, t-shirts and shorts as well as other necessities for the club.

Pasadena Educational Foundation, Pasadena, CA

Six schools in the Pasadena Unified School District with the highest incidence of childhood obesity have made the commitment to improve their students’ lives by developing or operating run, jog or walk clubs. These clubs help provide quality, physical activity as well as fostering positive relationships between students and staff. With this grant, these six schools will purchase needed supplies for the clubs, such as proper footwear and apparel.

Pickett Elementary School, Lexington, NC

The Pickett Pacesetters Race Across the United States program is a comprehensive program that promotes fitness through running, goal setting, self-confidence and teamwork. The grant will be used to facilitate opportunities for running among Pickett students, increase knowledge and improve attitudes and beliefs about the benefits of running and to build a sense of community among Pickett students through running.

For grant applications and more information on how the Saucony Run For Good Foundation can help kids in local communities nationwide, visit: www.sauconyrunforgood.com

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