Governor Janet Mills and the Maine Department of Education announced Monday, Feb. 2, that the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils (NFGFC) has selected Maine as part of its 2021 DON’T QUIT! Campaign, a national effort to encourage physical fitness in youth. As part of the campaign, the NFGFC, which seeks to encourage and reward innovation in the field of youth fitness, will gift DON’T QUIT! Fitness Centers to three Maine schools that use new and unique methods to promote student physical activity and wellness to help them construct fitness centers.
“The coronavirus pandemic has only reinforced how important it is to keep our bodies and minds healthy,” said Governor Mills, in a Department of Education news release. “I thank the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Centers for bringing this campaign to our state and I encourage all eligible schools to apply.”
All public and public charter elementary and middle schools in Maine who have a majority of students between the ages of 8 to 14 years old and an available room ready for equipment installation by June 2021 within their existing infrastructure are eligible to apply. Three schools in each state, prioritized based on need, will be chosen from applicants by NFGFC to receive a brand new, state-of-the-art DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center. The school nomination form and more information about the program can be found here.
School nominations will be accepted Monday, February 8, 2021 until Friday, March 19, 2021. Maine people interested in nominating their school can visit https://natgovfit.org/nominate-your-school/ and click on the Maine state seal to download and submit the short application.
“Our schools provide students with the knowledge, experiences and resources to build healthy and successful futures,” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “We know that physical activity improves student learning, mental health, and general wellbeing, and we are grateful to the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Centers for providing these additional resources to three Maine schools.”
Physical activity and exercise are shown to help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases, enhance individual health and quality of life, and reduce health care costs, according to MDOE. In schools, studies show that physical activity improves academic achievement, increases confidence and self-esteem, reduces discipline problems, cuts absenteeism, and fosters better interpersonal relationships.
“Childhood obesity is a serious problem that can follow a child into adulthood,” said fitness icon Jake (Body by Jake) Steinfeld, Chairman of the NFGFC. “I’ve declared war on this preventable disease and it’s inspiring to see elected leaders like Governor Janet Mills immediately jump on board to join the battle and welcome us into the great state of Maine. Every governor we’ve partnered with recognizes that obesity is neither a Democratic nor Republican issue, it’s a kids’ issue and all have vowed to do everything possible to help.
“So far we’ve delivered DON’T QUIT! Fitness Centers to 36 states and Washington, DC, and this year we are adding four more states to our family including Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, and New Hampshire. The response from every state we’ve visited has been awesome. Kids are excited about working out and being physically active and, as a result, their academic performance and self-esteem have skyrocketed. Now, Maine schools have an opportunity to make a change that will have a lasting impact on kids well into their future.”
Each fitness center is financed through public/private partnerships with companies like The Coca-Cola Company, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Wheels Up and Nike, and does not rely on taxpayer dollars or state funding. Fitness in Motion provides all the fitness equipment, which is manufactured in the United States.
“I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact fitness centers have had on students and their communities. When you provide schools with the tools and inspiration, you’ll be amazed by the changes that take place,” continued Steinfeld. “Children are our most precious resource and by providing them with a strong foundation in health and fitness, we can feel confident that they’ll excel beyond their wildest dreams.”
— to www.penbaypilot.com