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Let’s Move! Active Schools recognizes Athletes for Hope and Sportime featuring SPARK as Partners of the Year

Washington, DC | News Story

Let’s Move! Active Schools, part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative dedicated to ensuring 60 minutes of physical activity a day is the norm in K-12 schools, today honored Athletes for Hope and Sportime featuring SPARK with its inaugural Partner of the Year Award. The awards were presented as part of the 2016 Partnership for a Healthier America’s Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington, D.C.

The Let’s Move! Active Schools Partner of the Year Award recognizes organizations that have actively prioritized the cause of Active Schools and supported schools in achieving physical education and physical activity best practices through the Let’s Move! Active Schools framework during the past year.

“We are thrilled to recognize Athletes for Hope and Sportime featuring SPARK for their outstanding leadership, collaboration and commitment to Let’s Move! Active Schools,” said Charlene Burgeson, Let’s Move! Active Schools Executive Director. “Our partners are the engine for this initiative, and this award shines a spotlight on their contributions to the Active Schools cause.”

Let’s Move! Active Schools is powered by a national collaborative of 35 health, education and private sector organizations that work together through the collective impact framework to help schools create Active School environments that provide children with at least 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after the school day.

Since partnering with Let’s Move! Active Schools in February 2015, Athletes for Hope has facilitated more than 100 school visits where Olympic, professional and collegiate athletes serve as physical activity role models for kids. Also, last fall, Athletes for Hope initiated “Athletes for Active Schools Week,” a campaign that mobilized social media, a #5forPE video challenge and school visits to raise awareness of Let’s Move! Active Schools on a national level.

“This award validates the importance of physical activity to the 3,000 professional, Olympic, and college Athletes for Hope members, and we are truly honored to be recognized,” said Ivan Blumberg, Chief Executive Officer of Athletes for Hope.

Sportime featuring SPARK joined the national collaborative in January 2014 and has integrated Let’s Move! Active Schools into many of its key programs and initiatives. In addition to driving enrollment via several promotions and delivering an exclusive Let’s Move! Active Schools grant program to schools, Sportime featuring SPARK also sponsored a think tank meeting to address physical education and physical activity needs of students with disabilities.

“We’re very honored to be recognized as Partner of the Year by an initiative as transformative and well-respected as Let’s Move! Active Schools,” stated Dr. Kymm Ballard, Executive Director of SPARK. “This is a special time as Sportime featuring SPARK celebrates 50 years enhancing the health and wellness of our youth. This has been accomplished through evidence-based curriculum, teacher training, and equipment that help students maximize their physical activity and health. We’re dedicated to the mission of Let’s Move! Active Schools and are excited to offer this year 50 Let’s Move! Active Schools Activation Grants to help schools get active before, during, and after school. We received over 500 applications for the Activation Grant, and the grant winners will be announced next week. We continue to encourage all schools to participate in this healthy initiative and look forward to many more years of a successful partnership!”

“Our collaboration with Let’s Move! Active Schools is extremely important to School Specialty as physical, mental and emotional health and wellness are core values we live by. With our Sportime featuring SPARK platform, we promote best practices and standards in physical education that support and motivate our children to be active for a lifetime,” commented Joseph M. Yorio, President and Chief Executive Officer of School Specialty. “This is a great privilege and we look forward to working more closely with the Let’s Move! Active Schools collaborative to drive home the importance of wellness.”

Since its March 2013 launch, more than 19,000 schools in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have enrolled in Let’s Move! Active Schools, reaching more than 10 million students.