“Sometimes the most ordinary things become extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.”
This is a favorite quote of mine, by an author unknown. I think “author unknown” was very wise. This quote embodies what makes Project Fit America the special, dynamic organization we have become over the past twenty-two years. We are a collection of ordinary dedicated, passionate people who, when aligned with one another, create a force to be reckoned with. Together we create a grassroots network. Working school-by-school, community-by-community. We lift up and empower those whose vision it is to teach the whole child and believe in the immeasurable value of moving a child’s school environment from one of sedentary education to vibrant fitness in education. A “Roll Call” of Gratitude is in due order as the sun sets on 2012.
First and foremost…Our Visionary Donors
There are over 1.2 million non-profit organizations in the United States. With so many worthy causes, we are blessed that our mission to fund and empower schools to create vibrant, fit kids is a choice made by many. This year we worked in 90 cities with over 50,000 kids and saw firsthand passion in action. Our donors are a joy to work with. Passionate, engaged, and heartfelt about creating long lasting valuable partnerships with the children, families, schools and communities they serve. They care deeply about being part of the solution to launch children into healthy adulthood. These are marvelous people and organizations we are extremely proud to call our partners.
Next- We head straight to the front line. Schools-Where the action is!
We never cease to be profoundly moved and inspired by the PE Teachers, Principals and parents who tirelessly and lovingly work to create a place for our nation’s children to thrive. They are the MVP’s and the reason why we do what we do and why our donors give and support us. I am amazed at the huge volume of emails we get nights, weekends, holidays, spring and winter breaks…from them. These folks are never off the “clock” and work on behalf of their students long after the last school bus is parked back at the bus barn. They are also the nicest people in the world. They are eager, helpful, super passionate, and major advocates actually getting kids fit. We never forget the fact that almost EVERY child receives their ONLY introduction to fitness and activity as a lifestyle choice from a PE Teacher. They take this “charge” very seriously and when given a real chance….they will get the job done! One empowered PE Teacher can create healthy, passionate, self-actualized lives of hundreds of 1,000’s of children over the course of their career! Our most potent ally!
The Inside Track
Next and so vital is the roll call of people on the “inside track” of Project Fit America. Gratitude seems a word too small to fit all of them. Without a doubt the genesis of everything we teach leaves me beyond gratitude to Steve Cox. From his early days (in 1995) as a PFA grant recipient to becoming our National Director of In-Service and our Master Teacher.
It is because of the programming he developed that we have been able to amass an ever-expanding band of amazing PE Teachers. Many are All Stars and/or well on their way to becoming All Stars and work with us from coast to coast. Some work with us in an Advisory Capacity and some as Mentor Teachers to our new grant schools. Some travel the nation working with our new schools one on one, others help us try out new lessons, help us entertain new and innovative directions, some present at state and regional conferences, others open their doors to a visiting teacher who wants to learn about our special brand of innovative fitness in education. These are amazing people that I am deeply blessed to have the honor of working with. I am humbled by your passion and love for the work you do and the children you serve.
Next in line of this roll call…home office. I am also incredibly proud and humbled by the most incredible “Administrative Warriors” on the planet Earth..our home office team at Project Fit America! Believe me “team” is the right word!! The plethora of adjectives that comes rushing forward…tireless, passionate, caring, committed, funny and joy. They are all these things and much more. They truly love the work they do and it shows…each and every day. I also want to give an extra special shout out to Stephanie Elliott, who celebrates her ten-year anniversary of working with us!
Change is Real
As we close out 2012, I see hope and lots of it. There is a pattern of change…schools becoming the centerpiece and ground zero for launching children into healthy adulthood. There is more awareness of the body/brain connection and the fact that sedentary education disadvantages children academically. This change is real. It is happening everyday in thousands of schools across the nation. It has been and always will be our core mission and value to continue to be an agent for this change. This is what drives us, inspires us, and compels us each and everyday. It is why we give…100% and then more. I sign off another one of my all time favorite quotes by another wise author unknown….
“There is no substitute for working with people who make a difference.”