San Benito elementary school launches Project Fit America

SAN BENITO — As of this year, these students will no longer be exercising in a typical playground setting or physical education class.

Yesterday, San Benito CISD administrators and Judge Oscar De La Fuente Elementary school teachers and students showcased their new outdoor fitness equipment area named the “fit pit” along with representatives of the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation and former NFL player Leo Araguz.

From weighted hula hoops, pullup stations and horizontal ladders to step-up stations and parallel bars, each aspect of the fit pit was designed to get kids healthy and provide them with unique activities that will inspire them to participate in more fitness activities.

The school’s latest exercise equipment is part of the Project Fit America (PFA) program, a national nonprofit organization that creates and administers fitness in education programming in elementary and middle schools.

The acquisition of the program was made possible by a $25,000 grant The Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation’s awarded to De La Fuente Elementary.

The program includes the following state-of-the-art fitness equipment specifically designed to address the deficit areas where children fail fitness tests: indoor fitness equipment and a dynamic curriculum with games, activities and challenges for kids with the PFA outdoor/indoor equipment.

Additionally, PFA personnel will provide support to De La Fuente Elementary for two years along with on-site training with the school’s physical education teacher.

“The partnership between our organizations serves as a cornerstone for enduring community health and wellness,” Judy Quisenberry, Executive Director of the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, stated in a press release. “Bringing a program such as Project Fit America to our schools speaks directly to our mission to improve the health and quality of life in the Rio Grande Valley.”

According to Mel Sosa, De La Fuente’s physical education teacher, one in three kids are obese or have diabetes.

“Something had to be done because it’s getting scary,” Sosa added. “This is a great opportunity that will provide more resources and tools for the kids to exercise.”

De La Fuente Elementary is one of 19 schools to receive the grant since the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation began sponsoring the Project Fit America program in 2014.

According to assistant principal Camille Cavazos, the De La Fuente has around 305 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

“I think this is an outstanding project that will enable the students to increase their health and wellness,” Cavazos said. “The kids have a lot of ability, but if they’re not exposed to it, they won’t have that opportunity so we’re thankful to the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation for providing this opportunity to our students.”

FIT PIT EQUIPMENT

• Step up station

• Parallel bars

• Horizontal ladder

• Sit-up bench

• Pull-up station

• Pole climb

• Weighted 3-pound hula hoops and jump ropes