2020 and 2021 will go down in history as being one of the most challenging periods in our lifetime. We saw and experienced things we never could have imagined. On March 13, 2020 when the local schools closed, we thought it would be a two week break and then back to our normal routines. Little did we know that COVID-19 would creep into 2021. Ninety-nine per cent of the world’s children live with some form of pandemic-related movement restrictions1 and 1.5 billion children are currently out of school2. The isolation combined with the negative impacts of social media and a screen obsessed culture is a recipe for disaster. The mental effects of this pandemic on children will be significant and long lasting, and the most vulnerable populations will suffer the most.
We know that exercise and play are critical to relieving stress, anxiety, and depression as well as provide an additional number of benefits. It is the most natural and efficient way to mitigate negative health outcomes. Personally, I can say I am a different person on the days that I run or walk at the start of my day. My dream is to help create a world where every child is given the opportunity to engage in active play for at least an hour a day.
With these difficult circumstances comes opportunity for change. Despite these catastrophic events plaguing our world, we still pushed forward. Our children are resilient, and they continue to shine. We redefined what it is to be a family again. We are learning how to better support one another on a deeper level, regardless of race, gender or ability and while we all still have a long way to go, we are growing. And we are optimistic.
Over the course of this last year, we were able to get a great deal off the ground. Like most of the world, BOKS went virtual, offering content and programming to all from the ease of your laptops, smart phones and devices. Our learning management platform was redesigned to create an efficient and effective BOKS program for our schools, youth organization and parents. We moved swiftly and we were able to deliver quality resources for both remote and hybrid learning environments, providing a safe and healthy outlet for kids to keep moving while in quarantine.
Our longstanding commitment to equity and inclusion, and getting kids of all abilities active, was reconfirmed by our partnership launch with Special Olympics. We signed a multi-year collaboration with Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® to get kids more active across the country, helping establish a lifelong commitment to health and fitness. Through this partnership, BOKS deepened its commitment to inclusive movement for children with intellectual disabilities (ID) and communities across the globe by enriching its curriculum.
We also launched a nationwide grant program here in the US to better support our underserved communities in a more equitable way.
And crazy enough, we celebrated our 10 Year Anniversary this year! Our promise to get kids active physically, mentally and socially has resulted in over 500,000 kids moving and more than 8,000 trainers.
BOKS couldn’t be prouder of where we are today as an organization, and we would not be here without each of you. Our path has been long, but each step we’ve made has been due to our incredible community. They say you are a product of the people you surround yourself with, so thank you. Thank you to my team, all our BOKS Trainers and our hundreds of thousands of BOKS Kids for believing in the importance of physical activity over these last ten years.
All My Best,
Founder and Executive Director
Provide schools, youth-based organizations and families with access to daily quality physical activity that inspires kids to move.
To create a future of healthier and happier kids across the globe, with a focus on underserved youth.
BOKS Core Values
BOKS is committed to creating innovative programming to serve underrepresented youth, aligned to our values: (1) integrity, (2) compassion, (3) inclusivity,(4) collaboration, and (5) fun; so that we may nurture the love of movement in every child through physical activity and play.
Integrity: We must be accountable for our actions; owning the wins as well as our mistakes is how we learn and grow. Children deserve a world that values truth and honesty, and strong morals are what guide us at BOKS.
Compassion: Having empathy is one of our leading principles. It fuels our connection with others, and our trainers with the kids on a day to day basis. At BOKS we listen and always try to understand where our colleagues are coming from and appreciate other perspectives when they are different than ours.
Inclusivity: Our program was built for anyone and everyone, no matter who they are. At BOKS we strive to make every experience one that can be had by all.
Collaboration: We are stronger together at BOKS. No one succeeds in a silo and building the right community is the first step to our success.
Fun: Simply said, fun is what drives us. It is portrayed in our programming, our day to day conversations and in our work. We believe fun should be a part of everything we do at BOKS.
How BOKS Pivoted During COVID
Pivot seems to be the key word for 2020. In line with many other nonprofit organizations and brands, as soon as COVID hit, BOKS immediately turned our strategy around to be sure to meet parents, teachers and all our existing BOKS trainers where they needed us most.
With schools and community centers closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, BOKS needed a way to transition their messaging toward parents. The team worked diligently to offer online FB Live classes and free At-Home Resources including physical activity games and lesson plans to stay active while at home.
This year, BOKS created 14 new resources which allowed for over 85,000 downloads, ultimately keeping kids active and healthy amid stay at home orders.
2020 BOKS by the Numbers
Total BOKS Burst Program Subscribers 0
Kids Active in 2020 0
BOKS Training Attendees 0
BOKS Video Views 0
New Resources in 2020 0
Looking Back at 2020
10 Year Anniversary Recap
How did we get here so soon? It seems like just yesterday our founder, Kathleen Tullie, was getting the program up and going in her school. Thank you for all your support over the years and for being such a significant part of our lives and all the children you’ve kept moving.
BOKS Social Media Impact
BOKS in Action
Learn more about how BOKS Trainers are bringing the program to life and getting kids active.
Potter Road School, Framingham, MA
BOKS has played an integral part in giving my students a sense of normalcy during an incredibly difficult time. When schools were closed, BOKS was there. When life got scary, BOKS made it fun. BOKS allowed us to stay connected when a pandemic kept us apart.
I hear a lot about students who are having a rough time with remote learning (which is what our district has been doing all year). I hear about how the lack of socialization, the lack of recess, and the lack of routine are causing depression and an increase in unhealthy behaviors.
BOKS Resources Making a Difference
Here is a snapshot of the resources that were developed in 2020 to ensure all kids could get moving regardless of whether they were in a school or a home-based learning environment.
Monthly Fitness Calendars
An easy to follow calendar complete with daily Burst activities, weekly challenges, follow along videos, and Mindfulness minutes.
Physical Activity Fun Pack
A package of easy indoor exercise ideas as well as crafts, nutrition activities and printables to do with kids at home. It is a really simple way for a family to integrate movement and healthy habits into any day. Most of these can be done right in your living room, and will even work in tight city apartments (or hallways).
BOKS Bursts to Maintain Physical Distancing
A selection of BOKS Burst activities for kids in Kindergarten through Grade 9, to stay active at a distance, in class or outdoors.
BOKS Recess Cards
The games included in this document are meant to get kids moving at a moderate to vigorous level. All activities can be done at a distance and most are done with little to no equipment.
BOKS Lessons at a Distance
A combination of 12 of our top lessons that focus on functional fitness skills and no equipment. Each of these lessons can be run outdoors while maintaining physical distance between students.
BOKS Lessons On-Demand
These On Demand Lesson Plans each come with follow along videos that will keep students moving in the classroom or in a home environment. The lessons allow students to maintain current protocols of physical distancing while getting active and having a blast.
These lessons – complete with videos – will strengthen, support, and empower young adults physically and mentally. The BOKS Bootcamp is entirely equipment free and can be performed anywhere you have space for a yoga mat. It is designed to be highly modifiable and is suitable for all fitness levels – from beginners to fitness enthusiasts.
Summer Fun Pack
This Summer Fun Pack is meant to engage kids and allow them to “Create Their Own Adventure of Fun” for the summer. This package is full of easy to follow activities for kids to do independently, as a family, or for camp counselors/childcare providers to engage kids throughout the summer.
Winter Fun Pack
This pack can be used by families or by an individual looking for activities to do at home. Just because we’re not in school doesn’t mean we have to stop moving! The “Winter Fun Pack” includes some of our favorite BOKS games as well as crafts, nutrition activities and printables.
8 cooking recipes that kids can create on their own. With easy, straight forward directions and minimum use of kitchen tools, your kids are going to love the kitchen and YOU are going to enjoy their creations.
Mindfulness Minute Videos
These Mindful Minutes help us to slow down and check in with ourselves through a guided mindful activity.
All activities can be done indoors or outdoors, and at a safe physical distance!
BOKS in the news
Reebok to Donate 5% of All Kids Footwear to Get Children Active and Healthy
Reebok to Donate 5% of All Kids Footwear to Get Children Active and Healthy Brand Partners with DSW to Support BOKS and Increase its Impact in Underserved Communities (BOSTON, MA) OCTOBER 1, 2020 — Starting today, Reebok will donate 5% of all Kids Footwear sales on its US ecommerce site to BOKS(Build Our Kids’ Success) [...] Read More
BOKS ANNOUNCES $200K GRANT PROGRAM TO SUPPORT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE UNITED STATES
Funds, training, and programmatic support bring equitable access to activity and play to more children in-need during COVID-19 and beyond (BOSTON) SEPTEMBER 9, 2020 — Today BOKS (Build Our Kids’ Success), an initiative of the Reebok Foundation, announced a $200,000 grant program that will support its efforts to provide equal access to physical activity and [...] Read More
BOKS and Special Olympics Announce Partnership to Enhance Physical Activity for Children of All Abilities
BOKS deepens its commitment to inclusive movement for children and communities across the globe by enriching its curriculum with help from Special Olympics BOSTON, MA, May 7, 2020 – BOKS, an initiative of the Reebok Foundation, and Special Olympics have announced a multi-year collaboration to enrich BOKS’ physical activity program with inclusive strategies for kids [...] Read More
BOKS partners with like-minded value aligned brands and organizations to close the movement gap and provide kids free physical activity.
Multi-year partnership allows both Special Olympics and BOKS to get more kids active and improve their physical and emotional well-being, by:
- Increasing awareness and understanding of movement amongst schools and educators, as a team;
- Offering youth with and without intellectual disabilities (ID) opportunities to be more active and establish a lifelong commitment to health and fitness;
- Providing additional fitness opportunities in all Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools®;
Other Key Partners
Board Of Advisors
Here is a sampling of quotes from a few BOKS advisors who are included in our governing body that work with us to address the lack of physical activity for kids.
“This year has been more challenging for our society than I ever could have imagined and having worked in healthcare for so long I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything quite like it. What has remained consistent, and in fact is even more essential now, is the need for children to move daily; to help with their mental, physical and social health. I’ve been on the BOKS Board of Advisors for a long time and how I saw them pivot when this virus came about is admirable. They’ve adapted their content for parents and teachers alike, created additional physical activity programming for not only kids but young adults and seniors, and they’ve continued to strengthen the connection with their BOKS community by providing supplementary unrestricted grant funding during this difficult time. I’m delighted to work with the BOKS team to help get kids moving across the globe.”
Elsie M. Taveras, MD, MPH
Executive Director, Kraft Center for Community Health
Division Chief, General Academic Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital
“In 2020, allies in physical activity promotion collaborated to keep people moving, even while we stayed at home. The BOKS team was able to quickly pivot to offering digital options to help families meet their physical activity needs. As a longtime partner, ACE is proud to work with BOKS to raise awareness regarding the importance of regular participation in physical activity for children’s physical and mental health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM
President and Chief Science Officer
American Council on Exercise
At Blue Cross we are committed to advancing the health and wellbeing of children and families in Massachusetts. Helping young people learn the importance of being active and the value of a healthy lifestyle is critical to creating a more vibrant community for everyone. Research shows that regular physical activity can improve physical and mental health for children and adults. That’s why our partnership with BOKS is so important. And at no time is this work more critical than during a global health pandemic. COVID-19 has created many challenges to achieving this goal, so we appreciate the flexibility of the BOKS program and the virtual opportunities they provide for children and families to remain active and have fun together!
Vice President, Corporate Citizenship + Public Affairs
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
We could never have predicted what 2020 would bring us but we are grateful for the challenges and new direction in which we have been able to continue to help keep kids moving and engaged.
2021 and beyond we are committed to expanding on the below: