The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica’s Mar Vista Gardens Branch’s Jack and Cindy Jones Youth Center has been selected to participate in the Major League Baseball (MLB) “Wanna Play?” program in an effort to improve the overall fitness of youth.
The “Wanna Play?” program will encourage Club members – ages 6 to 12 – to realize the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle through physical activity and improved nutrition education.
Obesity is a serious health concern affecting both children and adolescents at staggering rates in the United States.
Today, one-third of American schoolchildren are overweight or obese. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, prevalence of obesity increased from 6.5 percent to 17.0 percent among children ages 6–11.
Facing these grim statistics, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and MLB have teamed up to improve the physical fitness of young people by focusing on agility, coordination and balance.
The “Wanna Play?” program will allow youth to become more health-conscious and active while learning the fundamental skills of baseball and softball.
By implementing programs such as “Wanna Play?”, Club members receive helpful tips on how to lead a healthy lifestyle by increasing his or her awareness of good nutrition and physical fitness.
According to a recent Harris Interactive Survey of Boys & Girls Club alumni, some 80 percent said that their Club experience made a positive impact on their attitude toward fitness and health, with 74 percent participating in organized sports.
The “Wanna Play?” initiative will help the young people realize that their health is critical to reaching their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.
Through a nine-week program, members will participate in a variety of fun, engaging activities and games to learn about ways to improve their fitness, nutrition and hydration; as well as learn basic baseball and softball skills and knowledge.
“Wanna Play is a valuable educational program that teaches youth about the importance of leading a healthy life,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica President and CEO Aaron Young. “The program is about more than just fun and games. It helps children improve their overall fitness and realize their full potential.”