The history of BOKS
The studies demonstrate that getting kids moving before school could translate to better academic performance during the school day
Life changing events take different forms. That was the case for Kathleen Tullie, Founder and Executive Director of BOKS, who after 18 years in the corporate real estate world decided she wanted to spend her time working on something that makes a difference.
Kathleen had a desire to engage the community and leave a lasting positive impact on children. Being an athlete, she knew exercise made her feel good and more focused, but it wasn't until reading the book Spark by Dr. John Ratey of Harvard Medical School that she had evidence to support her feeling. Dr. Ratey laid out a compelling argument for the positive correlation between exercise, academic performance and behavior issues. The studies that Dr. Ratey cited demonstrate that getting kids moving before school could translate to better academic performance during the school day. It was then that Kathleen's desire and new-found evidence took form as she became an outspoken proponent of physical activity for children; Her idea to bring "Fit Kidz Get Up & Go," now BOKS, to her children's school was born.
In October of 2009, Kathleen launched Fit Kidz at the Memorial Elementary School in Natick, MA, with the support of the superintendent and the school principal. Kathleen then looked to another resource to get the program up and running - MOMS! Moms are an untapped resource - organized, thoughtful, and vested in the school community and their kids. Emails circulated and an army of moms with whistles, clipboards and an endless amount of enthusiasm showed up every Tuesday and Friday morning that first year.
Since that first morning, a lot has happened. Not only are moms involved as trainers and volunteers, but so are dads, Physical Education teachers, educators and other interested parties that are all helping to run the program. Kathleen states unequivocally that the reason for the program's success is a perfect combination of passion from parents, educators and school staff that have the motivation to make a difference in children's lives.
Kathleen and her "Mom team," Cheri Levitz and Jen Lawrence, created a non-profit corporation and approached Reebok International Ltd for a T-shirt sponsorship. They had no idea how closely aligned Reebok's goals were with their own. From that conversation grew a collective mission to provide opportunities for children to have healthy bodies and minds, and by doing this, students could also find success in the classroom.
To promote the profound impact of physical activity on a child's mind, body and community.
- start the morning with active play to jump start children's brains and make them better equipped for learning.
- increase opportunities for children to get physically active, creating healthy, life-long habits.
- improve kids' academic performance.
- empower communities to make a positive difference in children's lives.
Reebok International Ltd
Reebok believes that the universal power of fitness can change the world by improving the human condition and that access to fitness is a human right. As part of Reebok's mission to provide access to fitness, Reebok has sponsored a new initiative of The Reebok Foundation, BOKS, to provide children around the world with access to fitness.
Dr. John J. Ratey
Dr. John J. Ratey, MD is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the author of the groundbreaking book and inspiration behind BOKS, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. As an advisor to the program and as an endorsed spokesperson for Reebok, Dr Ratey's mission is to spread the word on the importance of fitness in our lives.
Tufts Medical Center
Tufts Medical Center - Floating Hospital for Children in Boston, MA has a great partnership with BOKS. Michael Leidig, RD, LDN, CPT, is the Clinical Director for the Center for Youth Wellness at the Floating Hospital and has worked closely with BOKS to develop itsr fun, relevant, age-appropriate nutritional curriculum.
National Institute of Out of School Time at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College is an action-research institute whose mission is to ensure that all children, youth and families have access to high-quality programs, activities and opportunities during non-school hours. Since September 2010, they've performed evaluations which give credibility and validation to the BOKS program.
President's Challenge Advocate
The President's Challenge is a program of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. BOKS supports The Challenge by encouraging participants to register and take part in the PALA challenge. To earn a PALA, you need to be active for 60 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, for 6 weeks.
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance's mission is to promote and support leadership, research, education, and best practices in the professions that support creative, healthy, and active lifestyles. BOKS has a strategic partnership with the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD).