Three-time Olympic gymnast Dominque Dawes visits Flatbush school to discuss physical education
P.S. 6 Receives Grant to Improve Access to Healthy Foods and Fitness
East Flatbush’s P.S. 6 has just received a $1,000 grant that will change the way its students think about eating and exercising.
The Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) Game On grant aims to help schools promote healthy lifestyles by teaching students about nutrition and the importance of physical activity. The grant was awarded in partnership with GoGo squeeZ, the makers of healthy on-the-go snacks, during a health and fitness education event that was headed by Olympic gold medalist and GoGo squeeZ Goodness Ambassador Dominique Dawes on Sept. 21.
The three-time Olympian made history in 1996 when she earned an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics, making her the first African American to win a gold in the sport. After a third Olympic win in 2000, Dawes retired from competing to become a motivational speaker and a fitness and nutrition advocate. “It was time for me to hang up my leotard and find what my passion was,” she said at the P.S. 6 assembly. “To be able to empower kids is truly a dream,” Dawes told the Eagle.
After responding to well-researched questions about her life as an athlete — posed by excited students who were chosen by lottery to participate in the event — Dawes spoke about making the right snack choices and led the group of 150 students in a short workout session on the playground.
The event concluded with a tribute to the school’s late Physical Education teacher, Lorraine Porter, who applied for the grant. Porter’s proposed running program was what caught AFHK’s attention amidst the 30,000 schools in the organization’s online network, and was what helped to land P.S. 6 a spot among the 49 other schools nationwide to receive a mini grant.
“They were ready with a big project that can make a big difference in the community,” AFHK CEO Rob Bisceglie said. Although $1,000 may not seem like much, Bisceglie said it is enough to cover costs for new gym equipment, the running program and other assets that can make a significant impact.
Dawes, GoGo squeeZ, and AFHK will return to P.S. 6 with a group of volunteers at a later date for a playground refurbishing project, which will transform the school’s outside space with murals, a painted basketball court and a hoop.
This refurbishing project, Dawes said, is critical when it comes to inspiring students to become and stay active. “We hope kids get it here and continue it for a lifetime,” she told the Eagle.
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