The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is supporting families at a time when their physical and mental health is adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
LADF and UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind began distributing at-home fitness kits to all 500 kids of KIPP Academy of Innovation in East Los Angeles at the start of February. On Feb. 16, LADF will also launch a series of live virtual fitness clinics with UCLA Health Sports Performance powered by EXOS for kids ages 5–18.
“UCLA Health has remained an important partner in our COVID-19 relief efforts and an authority on what our communities need right now,” said LADF CEO Nichol Whiteman. “While we wish that this was not the case in 2021, we know that our families need ongoing assistance to help them cope while staying safe at home. Physical fitness and mental wellness go hand-in-hand, and we are making the necessary investments and partnerships to make these resources available.”
The efforts to address health inequities are bolstered by a LADF-supported research study led by Dr. Rebecca Dudovitz focused on defining best practice for physical education via distance learning. LADF initially awarded a $25,000 grant to Sound Body Sound Mind to support P.E. and fitness gyms in schools but, due to need, the programs pivoted to provide at-home P.E. kits to support students throughout distance learning.
The kits include a reusable bag, water bottle, frisbee, jump rope, wiffle ball, yoga mat, rubber playground ball, resistance band, mask, hand sanitizer and cones. Also included are educational materials, SBSM’s nutrition curriculum, four weeks of home workouts and health tips for parents (available in both English and Spanish). SBSM will also work closely with KIPP Academy of Innovation’s P.E. teacher to support the use of the kits through P.E. instruction.
“Staying healthy this last year has been incredibly challenging for our students, but our KIPPfit team has remained committed to developing innovative strategies to keep our kids mentally and physically healthy,” said Melissa Ulloa, school leader, KIPP Academy of Innovation. “We are so grateful to the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and to UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind for their generous donation. The fit kits will allow our students access to even more creative workouts and give them the outlet they need to remain optimistic in the face of on-going challenges.”
The live virtual clinics beginning next week are a series of 10 live workouts for Los Angeles youth and Dodger RBI participants ages 5–18. The workouts will teach the kids interactive exercises that encourage them to develop a healthy lifestyle. They’ll be led through a 45–minute clinic including warmup and circuit workout as they are encouraged to stay home, stay healthy, and stay active.
“As we approach a full year of remote learning, the need for fitness at home has never been greater, said Matt Flesock, executive director of UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind. “The COVID-19 pandemic has not changed the fact that students need to exercise. The benefits of being active are tremendous — from increased academic performance and focus to decreased stress and anxiety.”