Monday, April 16, 2012

UIS student-athletes teach kids how to live healthy

Student-athletes at the University of Illinois Springfield gave back to the Springfield community on April 13, 2012 by hosting “UIS Power & Fitness” for kids.

The Friday evening event was designed to empower children to live healthy and active lives. UIS student-athletes interacted with the students while playing basketball, volleyball, soccer, and participating in other events, such as relay races.

“Childhood obesity is at its all time highest right now, so we’re trying to make sure they know that being active is a good thing for them,” said Dylan Sparkman, a freshman men’s basketball player.

The goal of the event was to encourage the children to spend at least 60 minutes every day being active. The kids also learned how to make healthy snacks.

“As kids get older, it’s important for them to be active and have that healthy regimen in their lives,” said Marne Fauser, event organizer and head women’s basketball coach.

All of the student-athletes who participated in the event volunteered to help out. They consider it part of their responsibility as a college athlete to give back to the community.

“I think of myself as a kid and I remember how much I loved sports and it helps me to remind myself how sports are fun. I like to help share some knowledge with them,” said Tyler Lau, a freshman UIS baseball player.

“We’re their role models and they’re looking to be just like us when they’re old. I remember always looking at college athletes and professional athletes as people I wanted to be when I grew up,” said Cassie Wolfe, a freshman women’s basketball player.

For UIS freshman women’s soccer player Hunter Westbrook the Power & Fitness Night is not the only way they give back. She recently spent a week cleaning up New Orleans as part of an Alternative Spring Break trip.

“I personally love to volunteer,” said Westbrook. “I really enjoy helping people out.”

The Power & Fitness program was open to all K-8 students in the Springfield area and was held at The Recreation and Athletic Center (TRAC) on campus.

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