Answering the PALA Challenge

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On Monday, November 14, members of 1World Sports, a non-profit dedicated to developing healthy kids through sports, along with Chicago Sky Staff and Sky Guy spent time congratulating students and faculty from Walsh Elementary School for completing the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) Challenge.

The PALA Challenge is part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign and was introduced in partnership with Chicago’s Go for the Gold initiative. PALA kicked off in Chicago on September 12, 2011 and ran through October 24, 2011. The award was given to children who were active for 60 minutes a day (adults 30 minutes a day), five days a week for six out of eight weeks. It was designed by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to motivate Americans to make physical activity part of their daily life.

“We understand the importance of a healthy school and children exercising, “ said Walsh Elementary Principle Krish Mohip. “When students exercise they do better in school and there are less confrontations. The ability for students to learn is maximized when kids are healthy and active.”

Walsh Elementary is a school of about 525 children, grades K through 8th, on Chicago’s South Side. Among the 18 Chicago Public Schools that participated in the Challenge, Walsh Elementary was the only school to have 100% of its students to complete the Challenge. Students were overjoyed to have Sky Guy and founder and CEO of 1worldsports Ted Devine walk in their classrooms to congratulate them on the Award. For having the highest percentage of students completing the program, the entire school received PALA certificates signed by President Obama and tickets to a 2012 Chicago Sky game this Summer as well as a grant for transportation to the game.

Walsh had many ways to get their children active and healthy. With the help of Chicago Run, and the schools P. E. teacher, children ran a mile a day and even trained for 5 and 10K runs. Walsh Elementary also offers a range of classes for kids to stay active like fitness classes and even Zumba dance classes.

“Getting kids active here at school was easy, the big part of our success was getting the parents of the children involved,” said Mohip. “Helping keep the kids active for half-an-hour to an hour a day made a huge impact when they are not at school. This was a great program and we would love to do something like this again.”

Nearly 64% of Illinois residents are overweight or obese and more than 1 in 3 Illinois children are overweight if not obese. For more information about active, healthy lifestyles and 1worldsports, visit 1worldsports.org.