Moving in the Right Direction: Dozens of Young Runners Get Moving with Fitness at Centers of Hope with the Atlanta BeltLine Youth Run Club

Over a six-to-eight-week window of time this summer, approximately 30 3rd through 6th graders are participating in the Atlanta BeltLine Youth Run Club, a program designed to teach children the importance of fitness and running as a method of fitness which is also part of other sports they play.

“Getting Atlanta youth out and running on the Atlanta BeltLine sets them up for a lifetime love of fitness and activity,” said Atlanta BeltLine Interim Executive Director Rob Brawner. “We are thrilled to partner with organizations such as these to offer fitness and education opportunities to Atlanta residents.”

“Open Hand has loved partnering with the Atlanta Beltline Youth Run Club to deliver nutrition alongside physical activity,” said Jamie Hamblin, MS, RD, LD, Community and Corporate Nutritionist of Open Hand Atlanta. “Watching the kids have increased energy on their runs after making their own healthy juice has been encouraging!”

“The run club is an excellent opportunity for the youth in The City of Atlanta Parks and Recreation Centers of Hope.  The training and education received is invaluable to their futures, and it’s a joy to see the excitement and sense of accomplishment in the youth as they experience a race event for the first time,” said Michael D. Huffstetler, CPRE, Langford Recreation Center | Outdoor Programs, City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Teaching our youth early in life to take responsibility for their health and fitness through the application of running is rewarding and important as they grow into adulthood,” said Sherry Oswalt Popovic, RRCA-Certified Running Coach and ACE-CPT. “Coaching them to healthy competition and discipline in a race event inspires a positive attitude towards running and fitness overall.”

The run club uses the RRCA Kids Run the Nation Program to educate kids on running as a sport and in preparation for a race event, and this time is preparing them to participate in the Southeast Youth Fun Run on September 27 from the Bessie Branham Centers of Hope location in Kirkwood.

Presented in partnership by the Centers of Hope, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, OpenHand, and DIVAS Run, LLC, the program highlights the fitness programs featured at Centers of Hope. The centers provide a safe place to go after schoolters for kids while parents/guardians are working, while offering fitness programs, meals and homework assistance, as an alternative to the children being at home alone or on the street.

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