Posted: Mar 05, 2002 in

Youth Outreach Program Challenges All Segments of Society, 1996 Olympic Decathlon Gold Medallist, Dan O’Brien Scheduled to Speak

SAN DIEGO–The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s Authority on Fitness, today announced the opening of the second Operation FitKids fitness facility in Phoenix, AZ. Operation FitKids (OFK) is committed to enriching the lives of America’s youth with enhanced education for healthy lifestyles and increased opportunities for physical activity. In its 12-year history, OFK has launched more than 150 sites throughout the Unites States.

The new fitness facility located at West Valley Transitional Learning Center, 3160 N. 33rd Ave., also known as the Thomas J. Pappas School for Children of Homeless Families, has been created to bring students their own facility and opportunity to train and experience a fit and healthy lifestyle.

A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Friday, March 8 at 10 a.m. 1996 decathlon Olympic gold medallist and world record holder Dan O’Brien is scheduled to speak. O’Brien, a long time friend and supporter of ACE and OFK, is also a three-time World Championship gold medallist (1991, 1993, 1995).

In addition to O’Brien, Ken Germano, executive director of the American Council on Exercise and founder of OFK, and Billy Shields, Phoenix Fire Department union president will address guests.

The Phoenix Fire Department and the students and faculty of West Valley will dedicate the new gym in honor of fallen fire fighter Captain Ron Cummings. Cummings lost his life in a diving accident in 2001 and was the most decorated Phoenix Firefighter in history. A memorial plaque and mural have been created in honor of Cummings.

In conjunction with OFK, students, faculty members and the Phoenix Fire Department all worked together to create the gym. Phoenix fire fighters will mentor the students of West Valley through a new program called Fire FitKids. OFK and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) share the goal of increasing the health and wellness of children across the United States and Canada. Working together, the mentoring program will allow fire fighters the opportunity to share their knowledge, enthusiasm and experience to improve motivation, knowledge and fitness of the community’s youth.

Precor, Life Fitness and Star Trac made generous fitness equipment donations for this facility.

The West Valley Transitional Center is the largest and most developed public school for homeless and transitional families in the country. Throughout the year, teachers will educate over 200 children with as many as 750 enrolled on a daily basis. The Center offers a loving, nurturing, stable and safe environment. Families may live in a shelter, hotel, car, park, street or with friends or family members for short periods of time and many of them do not know where they will be from day to day. Staff members track down families and make sure children are in school. Buses pick up children no matter where they are or how often they move.

About ACE The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s Authority on Fitness, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s “workout watchdog,” ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at www.acefitness.org.

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