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. A sedentary life and poor eating habits can lower kids’ performance in the classroom and start a cycle of health problems later in life. Studies show that kids who exercise see significant boosts in intelligence-test scores and core subjects at school, compared to their inactive peers.*
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.
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 who 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 nonprofit corporation and initially 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 and access for all children, regardless of economic status, to have healthy bodies and minds, which also helps them find success in the classroom.
*Ratey, J. J., & Hagerman, E. (2008). Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. New York: Little, Brown. Castrechin, E. S., & London, R. A. (2011). “A Longitudinal Examination of the Link Between Youth Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement.” Journal of School Health, 81(7), 400-8. Davis, C. L., Tomporowski, P. D., McDowell, J. E., Austin, B. P., Miller, P. H., Yanasak, N. E., . . . Allison, J. D. (2011). “Exercise Improves Executive Function and Achievement and Alters Brain Activation in Overweight Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Health Psychology, 30(1), 91-98.
To empower school communities to improve our children mentally, physically and socially by strengthening their minds and bodies through movement.
To reverse the worldwide pandemic of physical inactivity and its crippling effects.
What is BOKS
Our Flagship Program
Meet the BOKS Team
Our team believes that sport & fitness have the power to change lives. We have each experienced this in our lives and are now dedicated to passing it on to more children across the globe.
For general inquiries reach out to the BOKS team here
Interested In Joining Our Team?
BOKS IS HIRING – Learn more about open positions and follow the links below to apply:
The Outreach and Training Manager is a dynamic, energetic, goal-oriented and organized individual that can lead BOKS program growth and sustainability in key markets and beyond. This role is responsible for developing and executing strategic and tactical outreach efforts to grow and sustain BOKS programs.
The BOKS Program Coordinator will be responsible for supporting BOKS programming by managing administrative support and program logistics for BOKS school and/or district program trainings. The Program Coordinator will work closely with Outreach & Training Manager to enable Area Coordinators with all the necessary materials to run and grow school programs in their market.