Rony Sulca is now more health conscious since being enrolled in the program j.k. livin. j.k. livin sponsors an after-school program Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15 to 5:15 in the fitness center next to the East Gym. Sulca has been an active participant of the program since last year.
Thanks to the sponsorship of the JK Livin Foundation, the fitness center at Venice has become a haven for students hoping to lead a healthier life style. Students involved in the program receive the chance to work out on bikes and elliptical machines while also learning the importance of a healthy diet. Started by actor Matthew McConaughey, the organization’s mission is to foster students to lead healthy and active lifestyles.
“I am thankful for McConaughey creating the program,” said Sulca. “Before being enrolled in this program, I never used to think about my health and I hated exercising. I watch what I eat more now.” He states that McConaughey motivated him to become a healthier individual. He also expressed how the program helped him improve his fitness gram score.
“Before I could not even finish a mile in the required time. Now I can do two miles,” stated Sulca.
JK Livin is in partnership with Communities in Schools, the nation’s largest drop-out prevention program whose goal is to connect community resources with schools to help young people stay in school.
The state-of-the-art equipment found in the fitness center was donated by another group Sound Body Sound Mind. Some of the equipment was also donated by actor Tom Cruise. Since the program places emphasis on giving back to the community, the students partake in community service events around the school twice a month.
Anyone interested in enrolling in the program can obtain an invitation and have their parent sign the permission slip to try out the program. The packet can be obtained from any Venice teacher, counselor, or Ms. Shepherd in the East Gym.
Elizabeth Blas is one students who has been involved in the program since last year.
“I have fun playing and running and pulling weights because other than exercising here, I would not be getting any exercise,” she said. The fact that Ms. Shepherd measures their body index motivates them to lose weight, she said. The fun ambiance in the fitness room is further helped by the fact that students come with a group of friends.
Another veteran of the program is Mark Barela. “I used to exercise about two or three times a month prior to being enrolled in the program and now I am seeing more definition and I have also improved my stamina.” Among the benefits of the program he enjoys are the field trips to Dodger games and movie premieres. Being involved in the program also gives students an activity to be involved in after school, he said.
The program also serves as an opportunity to socialize because students involved in the program usually come to work out with their friends.
P.E. teacher Missy Shepherd is the teacher hired by JK Livin to oversee the program.
Ms. Shepherd sees an expansion of the program in the future. This year the program has grown to 60 students . She possibly foresees the program expanding to five days a week versus the two days it operates now.
“I am ecstatic about the program” said Ms. Shepherd. “We are like a family and we learn about nutrition. The thing that I also love about this program are the gratitude circles where students get the opportunity to say what they are thankful for once a month.”
The fitness center hours are Mondays and Thursdays from 3:15 to 5:15p.m. It is located in the East Gym next to the girls’ locker room. Students also receive complementary water and nutrition bars.