North DeSoto 3-5 is the first elementary school in DeSoto Parish to offer a way to get kids active after school with a running club called Griffins on the Run. This 12-week program, started and coached by two cross curriculum teachers—Charlie Pate and Jessica Parker, was designed to get the 3rd –5th graders interested in exercise by following a schedule that will enable kids of all fitness levels to gradually increase their running time and distance each week. The club meets every Monday and Wednesday from 3:30pm-4:30pm, rain or shine, and includes staff and parents as well. The first 12-week session started in August and another one will begin in January.
“The effort exerted by the school employees to implement this outstanding club is not in vain,” said DeSoto Parish Assistant Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley. “The school is creating a mindset of wellness in our children that will impact their entire lives in a positive way.”
“We want our kids to know that being active is crucial for a lifetime of good health so why not start them young and make it fun with an afterschool running club?” said Pate when asked why he decided to offer this program to the kids at his school. The goal is to end the 12-week club by everyone participating in a 5K run; parents and families are invited to join them.
“Thanks to the high-level of encouragement and support from Principal Brandon Burback and Assistant Principal Heith Parker, this club was started and is something the kids look forward to every Monday and Wednesday and we are even receiving positive feedback from the football coaches,” said Pate. And the encouragement, support and effort is paying off—over 70 students are involved in the club so far.
With the help of the Healthy Schools Program, Pate and Parker hope to plan a Youth-Hosted Forum, incorporated into the second 12 weeks session as a way to involve the kids in informing their families and other school supporters on the importance of living and creating a healthy environment at home and at school.