Childhood obesity is on the rise in the U.S. Over the last four decades, the percentage of children affected by obesity has more than tripled; one in three children is overweight.
Alarming statistics like these are the catalyst for Active4Youth’s mission to help make kids healthier. Founded in 2005, the local nonprofit provides after-school cross country running programs at 62 elementary schools across the Spokane area, serving 5,400 kids in Spokane Public Schools, Central Valley School District and West Valley School District.
Active4Youth is the only sporting outlet for many young runners. Seventy percent of elementary students in Spokane County can’t afford to participate in after-school sports.
The program has been a huge success, and the demand is growing. Active4Youth was awarded a Community Strategies grant from Innovia Foundation to support the after-school program’s expansion into more area schools. Active4Youth will use these funds to help pay a part-time executive director who will oversee the program’s future growth.
“We believe offering a free cross-country program early in life will educate and excite children of the benefits of daily exercise, teach them about making healthy decisions and enable them to focus better in school,” said Meg Demand of Active4Youth.