Entrepreneur Jake Steinfeld (of Body by Jake fame) was on hand last week when the ribbon was cut on Glendale-Feilbach Elementary’s new DON’T QUIT fitness center.

It wasn’t just a random visit.

Mr. Steinfeld, the chairman of the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils, joined other dignitaries for an Oct. 4 news conference announcing that Glendale-Feilbach was one of three schools in the state of Ohio to be selected as a National Fitness Champion for ‘demonstrating new and innovative ways for promoting student physical activity and wellness.' The prize for winning the honor was $100,000 in gym equipment.

More than 200 schools applied for the award. The other two winning schools were Willson School in Cleveland and W.S. Guy Middle School in Youngstown.

“This is such an energized group,” Mr. Steinfeld said. “When I walked in the door, it was exciting to see all those smiling faces on happy kids and happy people.” Mr. Steinfeld, who has starred in exercise videos and television shows since the 1970s, created FitTV, the first 24-hour fitness TV channel.

As part of the ribbon cutting ceremony, excited Glendale-Feilbach students got to use the gym equipment for the first time and an official proclamation from Ohio Gov. John Kasich was shared, declaring October as ‘DON’T QUIT! Fitness Month.’ During this month, families and communities are being urged to renew their commitment to make physical activities and healthy eating part of their children’s lives.

The National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils program has rolled out in 15 states since 2012, with the goal of being in all 50 states in the coming years. Each DON’T QUIT! Finess Center is financed through public/private partnerships with companies like The Coca-Cola Co., the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and Nike. There is no taxpayer money nor state funding involved in providing the gyms.

Additionally, TuffStuff Fitness International provides all of the fitness equipment. The foundation’s goal is to build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world.

The ultimate goal of the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils is ‘to encourage and reward innovation in the field of youth fitness by awarding fitness centers to schools that use new and unique methods to promote student physical activity and wellness.’

Glendale-Feilbach Principal Andrew Duncan credits the enthusiasm of his staff – led by teachers Tammy Nelson and Ann Black (now retired) – for achieving the award and said everyone is particularly pleased with the equipment because so many of the school’s students are special needs students with mobility issues.

“Any type of physical activity helps with the minds of our children,” Ms. Nelson told The Blade newspaper. “[We want to] keep them active and feeling positive about themselves. We’re picking our students up and feel this will help them academically.”

The gym will be available to students, parents and staff. It includes cardio equipment, weights and such pieces as monkey bars.

Dr. Durant, who is a fitness buff, is very pleased the school was one of the three winners in Ohio.

“We are promoting health and wellness, as well as self-esteem,” he said.

Posted on October 12, 2016