BOKS and Special Olympics Announce Partnership to Enhance Physical Activity for Children of All Abilities

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BOKS, an initiative of the Reebok Foundation, and Special Olympics have announced a multi-year collaboration to enrich BOKS’ physical activity program with inclusive strategies for kids engaged in physical activity and fitness. This collaboration will allow both Special Olympics and BOKS to get more kids active and improve their physical and emotional well-being.

Globally, 16% of Special Olympics athletes 8-19 years old are obese and 15% are overweight. In the United States, 32% of Special Olympics athletes 8-19 years old are obese and 15% are overweight. The obesity rate of Special Olympics athletes in the US is nearly twice that of the obesity rate in the general population among children and adolescents of the same age. Due to a lack of training and knowledge of working with people with ID among health and fitness professionals, these children might be overlooked when it comes to having the opportunity for fitness and play. BOKS and Special Olympics have joined forces with a shared vision to get youth with and without intellectual disabilities (ID) more active and establish a lifelong commitment to health and fitness.

To celebrate this collaboration, Special Olympics athletes will join BOKS in its efforts to deliver at-home physical activity to families and kids during COVID-19. Join a LIVE workout on Facebook, guest hosted by Special Olympics youth leaders Kyle Norman, Alex Keith, Myah Garrett, and Britney Bautista at 12 pm EST/9am PST.

Please visit https://www.facebook.com/boks/ to tune into live workouts on:

Thursday May 7 – Myah Garrett

Thursday May 14 – Kyle Norman

Thursday May 21 – Alex Keith

Thursday May 28 – Britney Bautista

Britney Bautista, Special Olympics United States Youth Ambassador shared her excitement for the new partnership, “Our partnership with BOKS allows more youth to have the chance to be physically active.  Inclusive physical activity opportunities are important to me because they can strengthen relationships with families, athletes and teammates.  Daily exercise can improve your energy level, help you stay more focused in school, and help build a more positive mindset.  The most important part of inclusion is allowing Special Olympics athletes to be in the spotlight and show his/her capabilities.  Everyone should be included and celebrated!”

Special Olympics U.S. Youth Ambassadors are a group of 23 youth leaders with and without intellectual disabilities who are striving to make the nation a more inclusive place for all. These youth leaders act as advocates, share stories, and demonstrate the values of inclusive youth leadership across the country.

BOKS provides a program based in functional fitness and play that anyone and everyone can engage in regardless of age or skill and is currently run in many different inclusive environments throughout the United States. Working together with Special Olympics, the team will offer this programming as an additional fitness opportunity in 7,600 Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® (SOUCS), especially the elementary schools. SOUCS is a program for schools Pre-K through university that intentionally promotes meaningful social inclusion by bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities to create accepting school environments.

“It is an honor to be working with Special Olympics given its global impact and reach,” said Kathleen Tullie, executive director of the BOKS Program. “BOKS has always been a welcome space to anyone, but with the support of Special Olympics we can certify our programming is delivered in an even more prescribed manner.”

Special Olympics improves the fitness of athletes by providing tailored tools for individuals, families, and Special Olympics Programs. Physical activity, adequate nutrition and hydration enhance athletes’ performance and improve health and overall quality of life. By working with BOKS and incorporating facets of their movement skills and nutritional tidbits into what already exists, the two programs become even stronger together.

“We don’t have many fitness opportunities specifically targeted to elementary school students, outside of our Young Athletes program, which is an early childhood play program geared to children with and without intellectual disabilities aged 2-7 years old.” said Dr. Alicia Bazzano, Chief Health Officer, Special Olympics.  “By partnering with BOKS, we are continuing to expand the reach of our fitness and physical activity opportunities offered in schools to youth around the world and are able to reach their network of 5,500 schools with a curriculum that is more inclusive of all students.  This is a wonderful opportunity to encourage inclusion and get youth with and without intellectual disabilities moving and beginning a lifelong commitment to their health.”

To sign up to receive the full inclusive BOKS curricula enroll here:  https://www.bokskids.org/enroll-school

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