Kids in the Game brings wellness initiative to 11 Bronx churches, mosques

For eight weeks, Kids in the Game partners with Bronx Health REACH to bring fitness and wellness activities to 11 places of worship in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. Our coaches are tasked with teaching physical education in ways that can be sustained at home, as well as in each respective community.

Kids in the Game provided over 200 youth and parents across the Bronx with nutrition and physical fitness education. In all of our sites, there is an increased sense of community and newfound ownership over their physical and mental wellbeing. We stretched, we laughed, we did multiple squats, but most importantly we completed the program with enthusiasm and a commitment to wellness that will continue to develop in the future!

Our Sites

Why this work is particularly important in the Bronx:

The Bronx has a higher rate of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension than NYC as a whole.

At 30%, the Bronx has a higher percentage of adults who have not been active in the past 30 days, compared to 10% in FiDi, Greenwich Village, and Soho with the highest.

The Bronx has a higher rate of adults who report to have one or more 12-ounce sugary drinks per day. 

The Bronx has almost 1,000 more avoidable hospitalizations among adults. “Avoidable hospitalizations” are those that could be prevented if adults had access to quality primary care.*

NYC Community Health Profiles

Brandon Evans, our Program Coordinator, works closely with the Bronx Health REACH team, Emily Oppenheimer and Yolanda Benitez, on securing coaches for the eleven programming sites. Once a week for an hour and a half, Kids in the Game comes together with NYU and the Institute for Family Health to host the program to fight these statistics.

Each session is divided into a nutrition lesson provided by NYU and the Institute for Family Health, followed by a physical activity put on by our Kids in the Game coaches. The coaches lead kids and their parents in fitness activities that are both space appropriate and flexible for all physical ability levels. The context of the fitness activity varies from each site and coach, but each site shares the same unique goal of bringing physical fitness to underserved communities in a way that will be sustained at home, beyond those eight weeks.

“Kids in the Game coaches engage underserved communities of diverse backgrounds with one common goal: to increase physical activity and bridge the wellness gap. We had families who had never played together engage in fun activities and commit to continuing the goal of implementing physical activity into their everyday lives. For 11 places of worship, Kids in the Game provided the tools and resources for increased wellness and a change in the physical and mental well being of a multitude of families,”

Brandon Evans.
Learning to develop a healthy relationship with fitness even though it burns!

One of the largest wins we had this year was growth in parent engagement from week one to week eight. When we started, the adults would step to the side while the kids engaged and participated in the activities. After challenging our coaches to find creative ways to include the adults, we saw tremendous growth in the parent participation. Promoting positive and impactful play between the parents and kids was one of our desired outcomes, and it has made a huge impact on the communities we serve.

The Bronx Health REACH was formed in 1999 to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes in diabetes and heart disease in African American and Latino communities in the southwest Bronx. Since then, the Bronx Health REACH coalition, led by the Institute for Family Health, has grown to include over 70 community-based organizations, health care providers, faith-based institutions, housing, and social service agencies.

Bronx Health REACH