Going The Extra Mile: Community Through Fitness

Going The Extra Mile: Community Through Fitness

The pandemic has kept our school communities and millions of people across the nation sheltering at home, away from classmates, teachers, friends, and more, so naturally people are looking to connect online. And it’s no secret that athletics is powerful — it has an amazing, unique way of creating and bridging communities while encouraging healthy lifestyles.

For example, determined to meet the needs of our KIPPsters, the KIPP Corazón Academy Athletic Department launched an online community to meet students where they want to be —  “@kippcorazon_athletics” Instagram page and the Nike Run Club App among other platforms are used to build community and train.

“Love to walk, jog, or run?” was the question asked online by Alfredo Crossman-Chávez Jr., our physical education teacher and athletic director at KIPP Corazón Academy (known as “Coach C”). This question garnered 410 participants across KIPP SoCal and beyond — including students, siblings, parents, neighbors, and team members — in a 31-day friendly mile challenge. During the month of October, participants had 31 days to login as many miles as possible on their Nike Run Club App. 

“I'm very passionate about running. I've been running since I was 12 years old,” said Coach C. “We did this to promote healthy living for all. It is important that we strengthen our heart and stay involved in cardiovascular endurance exercises, muscular endurance exercises, and flexibility as well.” And to recognize their talents, work ethic, and dedication, all participants received prizes.

Every member took walking and running to the next level. Our top two student participants were:

  • John Camacho, 8th grade KIPPster from KIPP Promesa with a total of 256 miles, and
  • Ariel Ananya, 7th grade KIPPster from KIPP Corazon with a total of 229 miles!

This challenge was way more than just a fitness challenge! Sure, participants were getting their miles in their own way and at their own pace, but we support everyone to stay active. In addition, community involvement is such a fundamental part of a successful educational environment. We’re in this together. 

"The challenge was awesome because I really needed something to motivate me to get my body moving again. It can be hard in quarantine to stay motivated to work out, and the challenge was exactly what I needed," stated Katie Callahan, KIPP SoCal Development Associate. "I loved talking to coworkers daily about their miles and movement, it was such great accountability and comradery. Coach Chavez was so motivating and proud of every minute and every mile — he kept reminding us that the most important thing is getting out there and moving."

To continue the momentum, Coach C recommends trying to “get your exercise out of the way in the morning before work or school, and see how that goes.” If that doesn’t work with your schedule adjust accordingly. He also recommends trying to find someone you can exercise with (from the same household or virtually) to motivate and help stay accountable. “Success is defined by not giving up,” notes Coach C. “As long as you continue to try no matter the result, that’s what I see as success.” At KIPP SoCal, we help one another and cheer for each other. 

“Try your best,” concludes Coach C. This reminds us that in moments of challenge and uncertainty where people are physically separated, we can still find the beauty in human connection and support.