Before the end of the year, I wrote a post reflecting on GENYOUth’s exciting, at times exhausting, but always fulfilling 2012 year of action. In the post, I mentioned one of Fuel Up to Play 60′s tireless Student Ambassadors, Kylie Kasprick, who has agreed to keep us updated with the progress she’s been making in her school and community since she attended GENYOUth’s inaugural Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Summit in September.
Kylie blew through her goals to do everything from interview the Vikings’ Head Coach to starting a Wellness Team at her school that encourages her peers and adults to consistently make healthier choices. She also had a game plan for the holidays to ensure her success.
With Kylie’s brilliant thoughts on our minds, myself and the GENYOUth team took a bit of time over the holidays to decompress and indulge in moderation. My family and I headed to Disney World in Orlando, where my baby girl, Jade, had her first official run-in with Mickey Mouse and together we all conquered our share of long lines and loop-de-loops.
Wiped out after a full day at Disney World
Slate as Captain Jack Sparrow
So now here we are, on January 8th, 2013, just one week into a brand new year. It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have a lot on my mind. Too much! Perhaps one of the many reasons I feel the urgency to keep a fast pace right out of the gate is because of kids like Kylie who never stop dreaming, planning and taking action. I would bet that Kylie spent her time off inspiring the people in her life. Another Student Ambassador, Bobby Sena, probably the most active Facebook community member that GENYOUth is lucky enough to interact with, counts learning a new sport and mastering his current endeavors among the New Year’s resolutions he’s sure to make good on.
For me, Fuel Up to Play 60′s Student Ambassadors are a constant reminder of how much kids are capable of when you give them a platform to share their ideas and the access and resources to bring those ideas to life. Effective this month, the Fuel Up to Play 60 team has officially kicked off the Student Ambassador Draft to bring even more kids with varying talents and ideas into the growing group that is leading health and wellness efforts at their schools, working hand-in-hand with their teachers and Program Advisors (hashtag #SADraft). Part of the push to bring in students includes learning from current Student Ambassadors about why they decided to take on a bigger role in the program and how it’s changed their lives for the better.
Kids have so much to teach us through their bold honesty and a sense of wonder for life’s surprises, which seem to come around less often when you’re an adult. We should always be watching and learning from them, and we absolutely MUST be creating more opportunities like Fuel Up to Play 60′s Student Ambassador Program for kids to lead and show us their mettle.
My New Year’s resolutions have a lot to do with my four fabulous kids, who never cease to tell me what they think. I can’t tell you how much I value that honesty. It keeps me in check and with all of the ideas in my head, keeps me focused on the main reason GENYOUth opened our doors almost two years ago: to serve our most important customer, kids, and provide resources and funding to schools.
I’ll be getting back into the gym, and more specifically, back to the spin class I love. It takes a lot of work starting at 5am every weekend day to take my boys to hockey and soccer practice and games across the tri-state. It’s a labor of love and I need to do my best every day to practice what I preach with my own children and other children by making sure I find the time for my own health and wellness. My mind flourishes when I’m active. I need to get those creative juices flowing again by making physical activity a priority in my day-to-day life.
If you want to see what GENYOUth is up to in the new year, please keep following us on our website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest (where I’ll be sharing my upcoming year in pictures soon). Got New Year’s resolutions that you think could help GENYOUth learn and grow? Tweet @genyouthnow, hashtag #30/90, post on our Facebook wall, or enter your ideas in GENYOUth’s Idea Bank.
It starts with YOU, ME and all of us! Happy New Year and thank you for making a difference! Alexis
Posted by Alexis
Monday September 24, 2012
Categories: Fun, GENYOUth
Together, We Can Identify & Take Action on Opportunities to Improve Our Nation’s Youth
Last week, GENYOUth and our partners hosted the 2012 Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Summit. My team at GENYOUth knows I like to use the word “bravo” for a job well done. Now, with many months of planning behind us and a great deal of hard work before us, the first thing I feel like shouting out is “BRAVO!” Both the contributions and time of each and every person who participated in the Summit added value, and for that I am exceedingly appreciative.
If you joined us, or took part in the conversation through social media or our website, you have already helped us make a difference.
One of our main goals for the Summit was to bring together a diverse group of people with different opinions and common interests because discourse drives change. We kicked things off with a Leadership Roundtable session, and after sitting for close to three hours, we ate, played and SWEAT with 350+ people at the Nutrition + Physical Activity Night: Fuel Up, Play, Move! It was just the start we needed before we learned together the next day, in which 400 “active” Summit participants made commitments to action beyond the Summit.
Many folks have asked me over the past couple of weeks and months why we decided to host a Summit on the Learning Connection. We did it to raise awareness about the impact nutrition and physical activity have on learning, educate the key stakeholders inside and outside the school building about the science that supports the connection, and foster new partnerships and collaborations. It was not just another meeting – it was about sparking action. We cannot simply sit by and let physical education, physical activity and recess get cut year over year. Nor can we settle for the majority of kids missing out on eating adequate amounts of nutrient-dense foods, those essential for growth and development. As we speak, over 17 million children live in food insecure homes, not knowing where their next meal will come from, and less than half of our nation’s children eat breakfast daily.
The excitement, innovative thinking, unique ideas and knowledge of diverse stakeholders, including the “quarterback stakeholders,” our youth, recharged all the participants to roll up our sleeves and work together toward real progress for sustainable change to the nutrition and physical activity environments in our schools. By improving health and wellness, we may ultimately help propel students’ ability to learn, which will likely help foster healthier, more productive adults – our future business minds and leaders.
There are so many great moments in rotation on my personal highlight reel. While I could write a book to share every detail from the Summit, I am going to do my best to hit the highlights and help make you a part of the Summit through photos and videos.
A landmark roundtable session was held as part of the Summit. It was an unprecedented occasion in which business leaders, health experts, government, educators and students had a forward leaning conversation about how diverse stakeholders from the public and private sectors can collaborate with youth to create healthy kids, healthy schools and better learning. Watch the video highlights to share in the experience.
GENYOUth Pilot student, Juliana Alusik, spoke very candidly to leaders including Audrey Rowe, Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service, USDA and Marianne O’Shea, Director, Quaker Oats Center for Excellence, about breakfast, saying, “if the flavor’s not there, I won’t eat it.” There’s no one better than a kid to give you the real inside baseball on why kids are skipping breakfast.
CEOs, business executives, thought leaders, athletes and partner organizations including the American College of Sports Medicine, American School Health Association, National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL) as well as our corporate sponsors Quaker Oats, Dole, and Microsoft, among others, participated in a youth-inspired, youth-led nutrition and physical activity night!
NFL greats Kurt Warner, Ray Rice, Darrell Green and London Fletcher got active with participants in an NFL Play 60 mini-combine and GENYOUth’s brand new physical activity ring, and experienced other interactive games from Microsoft Xbox Kinect and “re-fueling” stations from Quaker Oats, Dole and our joint in-school initiative with NDC, Fuel Up to Play 60. Watch the video below to get inspired!
There were so many times during the evening when I was floored by the energy and spirit of everyone in the room! Nothing quite topped the reverberations that we collectively created when my trainer, Holly Rilinger, led 350 adults and kids through in intense, flash mob-like, ridiculously fun warm up that set the tone for the entire night (and gave me goose bumps!).
Day Two in Brief: Summit Speakers and Let the Work Begin!
The stage was set for the full day Summit by my friend and colleague, 16<sup>th</sup> U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher. He inspires me to do all I can for America’s youth and I know he will inspire you… hear from him in his own words.
Strong Science Supports the Connection Between Nutrition & Physical Activity and Learning
The connection between good nutrition and physical activity is grounded in science. This scientific support, combined with our shared stakeholder interest in fostering healthier children who are ready to learn, is our leverage to continue to make strides for improving nutrition and physical activity programs in our schools. Read the blog post summarizing the presentations from the science experts – Charles Hillman, PhD, University of Illinois, Joseph Donnelly, EdD, University of Kansas and Ronald Kleinman, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.
Participants heard about overcoming hurdles to change and success stories that prove it can be done from Stephen Conley, PhD, Executive Director, American School Health Association and a panel of school leaders including John Skretta, EdD, Joan Wodiska and Kyle Guerrant as well as Shellie Pfohl, MS, Executive Director, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and a panel of First Ladies representing Nebraska and Oregon. Additionally, celebrity chef Carla Hall, School Nutrition Association President Sandra Ford, NDC President Jean Ragalie, NFL great Howie Long and students all demonstrated how hard work, creativity and action can overcome obstacles! Read more here and here to get motivated!
Inspiration from the White House
Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor on Healthy Food Initiatives, addressed the audience to share the importance of eating nutritious foods and getting regular physical activity to the Let’s Move! initiative as well as other important programs that are gaining traction and producing action for healthier children.
Continuing our Commitment
Toward the close of the Summit, we challenged folks to share their 30/90s. Members of my team wore pins with the question, “What is your 30/90?” In order to move the dialogue further at the close of the Summit and generate commitments from everyone in the room, we created this interactive session to embolden folks to become a part of the solution.
A 30/90 is a way of looking at immediate solutions to personal nutrition, physical activity, and wellness challenges (or any challenge, for that matter) in the short-term and in the longer-term. It is about developing a specific course of action that will have an impact in 30 days, and a different impact in 90 days. Beyond that, it’s a way of having people make dramatic, on-the-spot commitments to change, to constructive courses of action, that have measurable timetables attached to them. The goal is to illustrate the ways in which anyone can take specific action on wellness challenges that their states, districts, schools, and students — as well as anyone who works in the fields of education and public health — are grappling with.
When I asked Summit attendees to share their 30/90s with the rest of the room, I was blown away by the eager responses and frantic pace at which folks raised their hands. We had a member of the Nevada State Assembly raise her hand to commit to gathering all the key stakeholders in Nevada to host a Summit like ours. We had educators, nutritionists and philanthropic leaders raising their hands to agree to go visit their local school to taste what their child eats for lunch each day. We had corporate leaders agreeing to put more resources behind the effort and to share the scientific learnings with the food formulators in their respective businesses. We had representatives of media raise their hand to do their part to share the statistics, build awareness and increase the dialogue about healthier choices for our nation’s children. It was astounding!
At the very close of the Summit, my dear friend and mentor, Dr. David Satcher, came back to the podium to share his closing remarks. As the “grandfather” of the childhood obesity epidemic, Dr. Satcher knows better than most what is at stake if our children don’t get the attention they need and so rightly deserve. He summed up the day by reading the following quote from Benjamin Elijah Mays:
“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim is sin.”
As a CEO and business woman, I am extremely energized, humbled and motivated by the feedback and participation at the Summit and the commitment from so many thought leaders, students, parents, educators, health experts and business and government leaders to continue working with us today to ensure better health and learning for our youth tomorrow. As a mom, I am now more hopeful than ever that the powerful partners and players GENYOUth will continue to convene and collaborate with will make children’s access to nutrient-rich foods and regular physical activity a reality in order to enhance their ability to learn.
The day after the Summit, I met with our Health & Wellness Advisory Council members who were instrumental in the creation and support of the Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Summit. I asked them to kick-off our meeting by sharing each of their 30/90s with the group. As I watched many of my colleagues share their 30/90, I felt I should share my 30/90 as well.
My 30/90 is to make sure I connect everyone who attended the Summit with one another. I will make sure contact information, slides, presentations and the 30/90 Idea Bank are accessible for all to learn from and share. I will continue to make sure I help educate my friends in the media about the Learning Connection to garner their support and commitment to cover this story. I have also asked my oldest son Logan to become a writer. As we speak, he is auditioning to become a kid reporter for Sports Illustrated Kids. And last, but certainly not least, I will write every principal or superintendent to thank them for allowing our youth ambassadors to spend two days with us at the Summit. Kids must be at the center of the conversation. As CEO of GENYOUth, I pledge to you that their voices will be heard and that we will do everything in our power to make sure they get the support they need and the voice they so rightly deserve.
Please take a look at the photos on our GENYOUth Foundation Facebook page and help us keep the conversation going on Twitter with the #FuelUpPlayLearn hashtag. I can’t wait to keep working together to drive real, sustainable change to make a difference for a better future for all!
YOU are advancing the conversation around the power of the Learning Connection to support children’s vitality and performance. YOU continue to teach us about what types of solutions to improve nutrition and physical activity have the legs to stand on and sustain in the schools.
The past couple of weeks have felt like a roller coaster ride. We moved back to the city after a brief stint at the beach. Our three boys started school. Our hot water heater broke. Our babysitter developed a terrible case of food poisoning. Jade thankfully spent the past week in a BabyBjorn nestled in for conference calls, iPhone texts and Blackberry emails. She’s a CEO in training!
Oh and let us not forget that travel soccer started for our 8 year old Kyle. For Logan (10) and Slate (5), hockey started, too.
Do you remember those Calgon commercials with the mother in the tub saying, “Take Me Away!”? I think about that every time my heads feels like it is going to explode. I’m not sure if my husband and I were in the same town last weekend. I suspect this weekend will be no different.
Nonetheless, even in the midst of chaos, we are super proud of our boys. Logan is now in middle school. He’s officially no longer my little boy. Moving from class to class studying on an iPad for a new school program. In my next life!
Kyle is now in 3rd grade and as handsome as ever. His smile melts my heart. He started playing travel soccer for the first time. He loves it and I couldn’t be happier to see him so excited! He had four days of soccer in the past five days. I used to play too, but I forgot how bloody hot it is on the fields at the start of the season.
Slate, my little angel and my baby, started Kindergarten this week. He had the perfect first day. The only time he cried was when he had to go to lunch. Apparently he didn’t like the lunch food. Little does he know :). He’s grown up and yet he’ll always be my little boy. He is so smart. Asks the best questions and forgives me for being a crazed mom. He would love mom to toss the Blackberry but I remind him daily that mommy needs to work.
Speaking of work, did you know that September is Childhood Obesity Awareness month? It comes at the most hectic and important time of year. A reminder to all of us moms, dads and caregivers to make sure our children are getting the nourishment they need and at least sixty minutes a day of physical activity to keep their little minds flourishing.
It is this Learning Connection that we are focusing on this month at GENYOUth. Did you know that children who are physically active and properly nourished are better academic performers, behave better, attend school more frequently and are less susceptible to bullying? Scientists, nutritionists, fitness experts and educators have been studying this Learning Connection for decades.
Next week my team is hosting the Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Summit in Washington D.C., alongside some of the most preeminent leaders in health, science, nutrition, education, government and corporate America. The purpose of this Summit is to draw attention to this Learning Connection and build awareness among school administrators and leaders in both the public and private sectors. It is also meant to be a forum of sorts, for all of those folks in the room and outside to identify ways in which we could develop solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic by giving back, generating awareness, volunteering or creating new solutions to get our kids healthy over the next 30 to 90 days and beyond.
I know some folks will read this and say it is not the government’s job or my job to tell you how to raise your kids, what they should eat or how often they should be physically active. As a mother I understand that better than anyone. I wouldn’t want someone else to tell me how to raise my kids. I’m not suggesting our kids only eat carrots or become neurotic about their weight. Heaven knows I can barely get my kids to even taste a carrot!
My concern is that too many of our nation’s schools are cutting back due to fiscal constraints at the local and state levels. The first place those cuts are being made is in our kids’ time for recess or physical education, and if it’s not impacting physical activity programs, it’s impacting our cafeterias, our vending machines and our snack time.
Did you know that some children in this country eat lunch at 10:30am, while others eat at 2pm? Do you know how much time your kid has to get through the lunch line? Do you know how many days a week your kid goes to recess? Has gym class? These are the questions I am now asking my children and encouraging other parents to ask as well.
At GENYOUth, we encourage and empower youth to make their own decisions by equipping them with the resources they need to understand what foods are healthy for their bodies and why. We’re also helping them understand why being physically active helps them learn, play, imagine, dream and make new friends.
For many of us parents, sports, music, and other team activities we participated in as kids at school taught us valuable lessons that we continue to apply as adults today. We developed life habits as a result of those experiences. I don’t know about you, but when I run, take a spin class or get on an exercise machine for an hour, my mind races. I always come up with my best ideas when I’m physically active. I can feel my brain exercising. It’s an incredible feeling. Don’t our kids deserve to feel that every day?
As you make your way through this very busy September, please join me in this movement. Our children are and can be the best advocates for change, but they need our help. Let’s demonstrate to them how little changes can make a difference of a lifetime.
If you would like to learn more about our Summit next week, please click here.
Sports, and football in particular, have a way of dividing the spirited Glick family, but the Super Bowl brought sports fan peace to our household. I am a Giants fan. My husband Oren and our three boys; Logan (10), Kyle (8), and Slate (5), aka “the Boss”, all favor the Jets.
But for the love of the game, and New York, we rallied together to cheer for Eli Manning and his band of mighty G-Men. As most everyone knows, the Giants brought home a Super Bowl victory, and along with it, glory to all team fans. What a game! I consider myself lucky have been there.
But did you also know that there was some pretty exciting stuff going on outside the walls of Lucas Oil Stadium that gave us fans the chance to get in the game, and test our skills in a flurry of interactive activities? For me, it was just as cool to be at the (conference center name for NFLX), and in the thick of the action at the NFL Experience. GENYOUth Foundation celebrated a year up and running with the team from our flagship program, Fuel Up to Play 60, and many of our partners like Microsoft Kinect.
It’s pretty hard to imagine, but kids outmatched the professional athletes in some of the activities. Here’s a shot of Dwight Freeney, defensive end for the Indianapolis Colts getting taken down by a kid-launched ball. Both Dwight and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith worked up a sweat along with the kids (and even a few GENYOUth team members).
Many of my highlights from Super Bowl XLVI are best expressed in the pictures below. We’d love to hear your personal stories from the Super Bowl. Do you pose like Tim Tebow when there’s a touchdown, or carry out traditions that bring your family and friends together, breaking out the well-worn jerseys and cheering in concert? I believe the energy and enthusiasm of the community makes a big day like the Super Bowl, the events leading up to it, and really any major sporting event, the best it can be.
Sports time is family time for the Glicks, and being the CEO of GENYOUth means I get to combine so many of the things I’m passionate about as a mom and the head of a foundation to fight childhood obesity. What a way to wrap the year and kick off a new one.
GENYOUth Board of Directors member Howie Long meets with Fuel Up To Play 60 students at NFL X.
Fuel Up To Play 60 students sample chocolate milk at NFL X.
Here I am with my husband Oren on the way to Super Bowl XLVI
The Giants get ready for one of their final plays of the game!
We’ve had a busy few weeks here at GENYOUth! For those of you who follow me on Facebook (link to fan page?) and Twitter (link?), you know that the GENYOUth Foundation took part in an amazing event on Saturday, September 17th, called the Fitness Magazine Mind Body & Spirit Games in Central Park. It was a great event for the GENYOUth team, our corporate partners, and my entire family!
The GENYOUth experience tents had great giveaways and info from GENYOUth, and our corporate partners – The Quaker Oats Company, Discovery Education, Kraft Foods, and LALA Foods – as well as the chance to try out Microsoft Xbox’s new Kinect games.We were also visited by the Jump Rope Queen and NFL greats Marty Lyons, Sean Landeta, and Amani Toomer – it was great to hear their tips on exercising and eating right in order to stay healthy.
The day also featured men’s and women’s 4 mile races sponsored by New York Road Runners. We had a great time cheering on all of the racers, but the most run races of the day had to be the GENYOUth-sponsored kids’ races, which began at 11 a.m. and featured races for kids ages 2-12. My 3 sons participated in the races, and Logan, my oldest, even won his race! Check out the video below – that’s Logan crossing the finish line first, and his younger brother, Kyle, isn’t too far behind!
The Mind Body & Spirit Games was a great day for both GENYOUth and our corporate partners, families, and friends. We also officially launched our website on Saturday. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to visit our website (link), take the pledge, and exercise your influence with us. Remember, it starts with you!
Posted by Alexis
Saturday September 10, 2011
Welcome to the new & improved AlexisGlick.com! We’ve been working very hard to bring this site to you, and I’m excited for everyone to finally visit!
However, that’s not why things have been so quiet here. As those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook know, for the better part of a year I have been working behind the scenes to build a movement which begins to reverse the trend in the Childhood Obesity epidemic.
At Super Bowl XLV in Dallas I officially announced my new role as CEO of GENYOUth, a foundation to fight childhood obesity. Our flagship program, Fuel Up to Play 60 is the only school wellness program of its kind, and is in 70,000 schools across the country. Nearly ¾ of all U.S. school districts have enrolled at least one of their schools in the program. It’s truly mind-blowing to me that we’re affecting so many of the nation’s schoolchildren on a daily basis, and I’m so proud to be involved in such a special program.
Along with Fuel Up To Play 60, GENYOUth has a number of exciting projects in the works. I can’t tell you what all of them are just yet, but I’m thrilled to share that GENYOUth, along with several of our corporate partners, will be participating in Fitness Magazine’s Mind Body & Spirit Games in Central Park on Saturday, September 17th. If you’re in the New York area, please come join us for appearances by The Biggest Loser’s Bob Harper, The Jump Rope Queen, and a “surprise” NFL player, along with some great interactive games and races for both adults and children.
2011 has been a year of big changes for me, and I’m excited to share more of them with all of you. Stay tuned!