CLIPPERS FIT CAMPUS TIP-OFF PRESENTED BY THE CALIFORNIA ENDOWMENT

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Clippers FIT Campus Program presented by The California Endowment kicked off with a press conference and fitness event Nov. 12 on Soboroff Sports Field at Expo Center.

With 700 students from seven different schools in attendance, the event served as an opportunity to get participating schools excited about the upcoming months of the annual Clippers FIT Campus Program.

FIT Campus is part of the Clippers overall FIT Program and the NBA’s comprehensive health and wellness platform promoting healthy, active lifestyles for children and adults. The FIT Campus program challenges students in elementary school, middle school and high school at 7 school campuses to track the number of minutes they spend doing physical activity each day. Upon completion of the program which runs December through March, members of the Los Angeles Clippers visit local schools recognizing the accomplishments of students as well as providing game tickets, T-shirts, electronics and books as incentives throughout the program.

The California Endowment has partnered with the Clippers to deliver the FIT Campus program for the past two seasons and supports the idea that health happens in neighborhoods, schools and through aggressive prevention measures. Entering the third season The California Endowment supports Fit Campus and the Clippers larger FIT program to deliver the fitness and healthy lifestyle message to over 30,000 students at more than 90 schools in southern California.

The California Endowment’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kathlyn Mead explained the significance of the Clippers’ commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles.

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“The partnership with the Clippers shows the commitment they have to the kids of Los Angeles,” Mead said. “It shows their commitment to good health and good nutrition for all of Los Angeles. It lets the schools know that the Clippers are making an investment in their kids. This partnership allows all of the schools and communities to understand that we’re all behind them in this journey.”

Mead, who has been with The California Endowment since 2007, said the fact that the Clippers’ basketball staff and players support the program’s endeavor is very important.

“It shows that the players, the coaches, the entire team are supporting these kids in activities that are going to take several months,” Mead added. “Getting healthy, eating right, and being active doesn’t happen overnight, you’ve got to commit to it over a long period of time. The Clippers are out here to support the kids… that’s the most exciting part. This event says that we’re kicking this off with you and we’re going to be here for you throughout the process. In March when we measure your success, we’ll be there as well.”

Children began the event by partaking in several stretching exercises and warm-ups, all of which were led by Clippers players Blake Griffin, Jared Dudley, Jamal Crawford and Ryan Hollins. Clippers alumni Lamond Murray and Olden Polynice also contributed to the event by helping lead warm-ups and running two of four fit stations for the participants. From basketball drills and dancing to relay races, kids got their hearts pumping while enjoying a lively atmosphere, which was all centered on the idea of getting fit and having fun.

“It’s always good to give back to your community, especially here in L.A.,” Dudley said. “When these kids are at home, they hear this from their parents but it’s different for them when they are hearing it from an athlete or a role model. For us to come out here and speak to these kids, do stretches with them and explain the importance of being healthy, it’s an easy job for us. For us to have the opportunity to emphasize health out here today, it’s important.”

Griffin agreed, saying, “It’s important for us to give back and try to encourage kids to be healthy and to lead a better lifestyle.”

Samantha, a seventh grader from a participating school enjoyed this fun aspect of the Clippers FIT Program. “We’re not just exercising, we’re having fun. Fun exercise is not always something that we all get easily. The Clippers make it enjoyable for us.”