News from our favorite fitness non-profit charity

Operation FitKids (OFK) continues to witness how easy it can be to improve the health and fitness of children.

In June, OFK received a letter from a teacher at Glen Oaks Therapeutic Day School in Glendale Heights, Ill., thanking the organization for heart-rate monitors donated through Operation FitKids. The monitors, given to the program by Polar Electro, will be a useful and fun tool for the students.

The teacher took the time to let OFK know just how her students would benefit from the monitors and educational resources that were also provided:

“Thank you very much for the informational book on fitness and nutrition,” the teacher wrote to OFK. “I am adding it to my library. This is a welcome addition to my existing information.

“The heart monitors will be of great use this summer. I have planned to take the students rock climbing, bike riding, roller skating and hiking. It will be interesting to see if there is any cardio improvement.

“My plan is to track a few students over the summer and track medications, weight and heart rate.

“Again thank you for the donation of [the] heart rate monitors.”

Recently, along with Polar Electro, Northwest Club Management, Stair-Master, HealthLine, Town Sports International/New York Sports Club, Gym Source and Club One have provided equipment for schools in California, Oregon and Illinois.

We are very appreciative for equipment donations, but we are also excited about the growing number of fitness professionals inquiring about volunteer opportunities with youth. Our volunteer program is underway; certified fitness professionals should contact Jeanne Dierickx at jeanned@acefitness.org or (800) 925-3636, ext. 757, for information and an application.

Operation FitKids wants to help students start out the new school year with a leap into fitness, and club operators can help. Schools in every community need commercial fitness equipment, educational materials related to exercise, internship opportunities and qualified volunteers.

We encourage clubs to do fund-raisers involving their staff and members, with all proceeds going to Operation FitKids. It can be as simple as putting a jar at the front desk and encouraging members to donate a dollar when they are reaching into their wallets to buy a sports drink or energy bar. Or operators could decide to donate $5 for every new member who signs up during the months of August and September. Be as creative as you want.

Currently, Operation FitKids has more than 60 schools across the country requesting assistance. Although we are thrilled when we can provide them with a full facility of new equipment, Operation FitKids continues to accept previously used pieces from clubs that are updating the equipment in their facility.

Remember, children are our future — our future health club members, employees and community leaders. To learn ways that you can help, including volunteering, sponsoring a fund-raiser or donating equipment, please contact Jeanne Dierickx at (800) 825-3636, ext. 757, or at jeanned@acefitness.org. All donations are tax deductible. Financial donations may be sent to Operation FitKids, 5820 Oberlin Drive, Suite 102, San Diego, CA 92121-3787.