On-Site with Elizabeth Tijerina, Operations Manager, KIPP Excelencia Community Prep (Redwood City, CA)

Fit Kids: What value does Fit Kids deliver to your school?

Elizabeth Tijerina: Our goal is to educate the whole child, academically, socially, emotionally and physically. Health and nutrition are important to that, and Fit Kids brings it to our after school program. Fit Kids makes fitness fun, so the kids want to pursue those activities even outside of the Fit Kids program itself.

FK: What are some of your goals for the Fit Kids program and the results you are seeing?

ET: We’re incorporating more structured physical education into our day-to-day curriculum. The Fit Kids program on top of that gives our students a more coordinated sense of fitness. Fit Kids helps them learn structure and discipline and teaches them strategies for how to stay healthy on their own. That way, our students get healthy habits early, and their parents are very satisfied with the program.

FK: What are parents saying about Fit Kids?

ET: Parents want their kids to be safe after school. Many of our students’ parents are still working after school, and unfortunately there are not a lot of other structured after school activities available. So the parents are happy about not just knowing their children are safe, but that they are getting an enriching activity.

FK: What are some benefits you are seeing beyond your students’ physical fitness?

ET: Our students who struggled with behavioral issues have blossomed through these structured physical fitness activities. We see how engaged they are with the Fit Kids coaches, and we are learning how important it is for kids to have the chance to move around, which helps with their focus and ability to learn.