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CALIFORNIA OPENING DAY SPOTLIGHTS

Penryn School - Penryn
Sponsored by: Sutter Roseville Medical Center & Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital
Opening Day Kickoff: September 21, 2007 - news article

Glen Edwards Middle and Twelve Bridges Elementary Schools - Lincoln
Sponsored by: Sutter Roseville Medical Center & Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital
Opening Day Kickoff: September 28, 2007 - news article

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Grant money helps kids to stay fit
Penryn students get new playground equipment to grow on
By Art Campos - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, October 11, 2007

A donation from hospitals and health care providers has enabled Penryn Elementary School to tackle the issue of physical fitness.
Third-graders at the school have begun working out on new playground equipment purchased through a program known as Project Fit America. Among the outdoor equipment are a pole climb, a vault bar, pull-up bars, a sit-up bench, step-test benches, parallel bars and a horizontal ladder."It may resemble playground equipment, but it is not," said Heidi Hayes, the third-grade teacher. "It is called an 'above-ground fitness weight room.' And I have to agree."What makes it different is that there is a distinct way of using the equipment, and the students are being trained to use it properly and safely. The kids really like it."

The equipment and related curriculum are designed to address strength and skill areas where children often fail fitness tests. Penryn is one of nine schools in the Sacramento area to receive playground fitness equipment from a $165,000 grant from Sutter Health and its hospitals.

Other Placer County schools among recipients were Colfax Elementary in Colfax, Cooley Middle in Roseville, Foresthill Divide Middle in Foresthill, Skyridge Elementary in Auburn and Twelve Bridges in Lincoln, in addition to Fruitridge Elementary and Hollywood Park Elementary, both in Sacramento. Glen Edwards Middle School in Lincoln also has been able to purchase equipment through the grant.

Teachers and students at Glen Edwards celebrated the unveiling of the equipment in a large-scale way on Sept. 28, bringing a helicopter to land in the field and importing Sierra College cheerleaders and several mascots to raise spirit on the campus. Stacey Cook, executive director of Project Fit America, said the equipment was donated because many school districts, facing budget constraints, have cut back on physical education and fitness-related activities. The cuts are being made while "childhood obesity and related illnesses are at epidemic levels," Cook said in a news release. "Our children's health is too important to sit idly by, which is why we applaud Sutter Health for taking this leadership role to bring programming to Sacramento and Placer counties," she said.

Robin Montgomery, a spokeswoman for Sutter Roseville Medical Center, said the federal government has estimated that 6 million children are now overweight enough to endanger their health. "Ten years ago, the medical community found that Type 2 diabetes did not occur until after 40 years of age," Montgomery said in the news release. "Now, it is regularly found in pediatric patients." Hayes said the children at the Penryn school are improving their physical fitness at their own levels. "In the old days, you had goals which some children could not meet because they were not physically mature yet," she said. But the new program encourages teachers to bring all children, whatever level of fitness they start at, "to a state of greater physical fitness," Hayes said. If a student is unable to climb the pole, the new equipment is designed to at least get them started, she said. For a student who easily climbs to the top of the pole, his next goal may be to climb the pole again and possibly multiple times, Hayes said. "This pushes the fit kid to a greater challenge and helps him achieve a peak fitness," she said. Hayes said the new equipment provides variety that keeps the kids interested. "It makes PE fun again because the activities change daily," she said.

Nationwide, health care providers have contributed more than $6 million to Project Fit America, Montgomery said in the news release. The schools are selected through a local grant program in the service areas of the sponsoring organizations.
Project Fit America's program is used in more than 500 schools in more than 250 cities in 42 states, the news release said.top of page


Article in Lincoln Messenger 
Print Date: Thursday, October 4, 2007
 
Project works to keep kids fit
By: Cheri March, The News Messenger

In a generation known more for virtual video game marathons than actual physical activity, P.E. is managing to make a comeback.
Project Fit America kicked off at Glen Edwards Middle and Twelve Bridges Elementary schools on Friday. Sponsored locally by Sutter Health, the nationwide program aims to promote healthy living and fitness at an early age. "P.E. classes have dropped out of a lot of schools," said Robin Montgomery, spokeswoman for Sutter Health. "The goal of Project Fit America is to get kids healthy again."

Sutter recently provided $165,000 for nine area schools to purchase playground equipment needed for the program. Both Glen Edwards and Twelve Bridges Elementary now have outdoor sit-up and push-up benches, aerobic step-ups, a horizontal ladder, parallel bars, pull-up bars, a vault bar and a climbing pole. Along with using the equipment, kids also perform exercise drills and dance routines as part of the project - anything to keep them moving. "This is a new kind of P.E.," said Stacey Cook, executive director of Project Fit America. "It's not just about changing kids' physical looks but about their attitude. Plus, it's just a blast."

The timing couldn't be better. Approximately 85 percent of American children can't pass a basic fitness test, Cook said. "This is the first generation of children who are less healthy than their parents," she said. But the program is about more than physical fitness.
"Research has shown daily exercise is great not only for health, but for attendance, attention, and confidence in school," said Michael Doherty, Glen Edwards' principal. Doherty said the school switched to a period schedule to accommodate daily P.E. Former Glen Edwards principal Mary Boyle, now the local school district's assistant superintendent of education, had just returned from running the Boston Marathon when she addressed students Friday.

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