In furthering the company’s mandate to provide quality of life services to the residents of Kingstree Housing Authority communities, KCEC will bring the KiDsGyM USA ™ K-atch Up Initiative to Kingstree, South Carolina to provide opportunities for children ages 5 through 13. In the program, children will improve mental performance, enhance gross motor development, and learn healthy fitness habits through gymnastics. The program will serve 16-20 children per class, utilizing 2 instructors. We will hire local residents and train them to deliver the program. The program will be free for residents of communities managed by The Housing Authority of the City of Kingstree. There will be a nominal fee of no more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per month for children from adjacent communities.
The KiDsGyM USA ® Program
The program consists of four components: physical fitness, education, parental guidance, and community outreach. By partnering with local businesses and organizations in high needs areas where underserved populations reside, KiDsGyM USA® will implement K-atch Up, a comprehensive initiative to help reduce childhood obesity.
High-needs areas served by KiDsGyM USA® are defined as: (1) an area of town identified as a “food desert” (i.e., a low-income community located more than one mile from access to healthy and fresh food), (2) an area with a lack of access to safe places to play and exercise, and (3) a low-income area in which the high cost of healthy food is prohibitive (for many who live in the area).
These factors produce an environment where children are less likely to be exposed to healthy food as well as opportunities for active play and exercise.
Component I. – Physical Fitness
This is the core component and foundation for the K-atch Up initiative. KiDsGyM USA® will assist KCEC in garnering support from parents and guardians of the students participating in our “cohort”. Through parent/guardian engagement our program leaders will clarify requirements and offer incentives for continued participation and commitment. The cohort is the group of participants who will enter the program at the same time and at the same level. As they proceed through the curriculum, they learn to support one another as teammates.
To guarantee substantial impact and build capacity, we will train teachers in using the provider’s Flippin’ for Life and Early Education through Movement curriculums through the provider’s Train the Trainer program.
Component II. – Education
Children will learn healthy habits and ways to incorporate these habits into their lifestyle and environment. They will also increase their awareness and knowledge of healthy eating and physical activity concepts and issues exploring current health theories, attitudes, and behavioral intents. They will ultimately work in teams to produce media (including print ads, radio spots, and animation) to encourage healthier lifestyles and choices. Moreover, this component will utilize instructional delivery content designed to improve communication skills and engagement of students at every grade level.
Component III. – Parental Guidance
The Healthy and Fit Parents program will be at the center of this component of the K-atch Up initiative. In this component, we will engage parents by facilitating sessions on developing healthy eating and living habits for themselves and their families. This program provides parents with the information and skills necessary to make healthy lifestyle choices. Parents receive training through a variety of sessions on effectively sharing nutrition and fitness concepts with other parents, colleagues, and peers; thus, causing the community (at large) to develop specific habits that will ultimately lead to healthier lifestyles for their children.
Throughout a series of workshops, parents will learn how many fruits and vegetables to eat daily, easy ways to prepare them, and the most economical ways to buy them. They will also learn which beverages are the healthiest to drink, which snacks are healthiest for them to eat and how to prepare snacks for the family. Parents will receive healthy recipes and learn ways to be healthy role models for their children, as well as ways to increase their physical activity. Finally, parents are encouraged to participate in helping to organize healthy eating activities in their communities and in parent-to-parent mentoring.
Materials to be used in this program are provided by one of the KiDsGyM USA® health partners. The materials include the following: A Parent’s Guide to Include Cost-Effective Meal Options and Recipes (English and Spanish), a series of brochures, and an “A-list” of healthy snacks. Nutritionists, registered dieticians, chefs, and physical activity specialists are engaged to make the workshops more meaningful and enjoyable experiences.
In further fostering this program’s initiatives, the provider will organize grocery store tours for our cohort’s parents, educating them on healthy and cost-effective grocery shopping.
Cohort families will be required to complete meal records for participants. This requirement will allow us to track outcomes and to document the most effective methods of reducing childhood obesity.
Component IV. – Community Outreach
It is in this fourth and final component that the program can gain widespread impact. After the training period, local trainees become certified KiDsGyM USA ® instructors. At that time, we will seek partnerships with the schools that are attended by the children in our program. We will offer after-school classes to students of all ages either at their respective school’s gym or at the facilities of other partnering organizations. These after-school programs will also follow the Flippin’ for Life program and other models being utilized in our initial Kingstree location. This component extends the opportunity to children of all ages in our targeted population.