This Summer, we reflected on our role in our community and knew that we wanted–and needed–to make the benefits of SWERVE more accessible to more people. Our team-based approach gives us a unique opportunity to impact youth, so we began to seek out partners.
In July, our friends at Ostroy introduced us to I Challenge Myself, a non-profit that creates school-based fitness programs for public school students to help them grow socially, academically, and physically.
With their mission and our method, it was a great match.
With a school year that was sure to be unlike any other, ICM was looking for creative ways to keep NYC’s public school students active. Social distancing and virtual learning meant that normal P.E. classes were off the table and outdoor group cycling rides were looking less and less realistic.
Together with the ICM team, we came up with a semester-long program that would provide students with 3 virtual workouts per week. The workouts would be short, effective, and require no equipment. They’d emphasize both physical and mental strength. They’d be custom-made for middle and high school students, with a pace and difficulty level that would keep participants challenged and engaged.
The workouts would be accessible by teachers, who could play them on-demand for students at school, and by remote-learning students who could play them on-demand at home.
In a matter of days, coach Jenna rallied our team to begin creating these workouts. Our coaches modified our off-bike method to make sure it’d be easy for all students (including non-English speakers) of all fitness levels to follow. They introduced a series of mantras to encourage mindfulness and build mental strength. And of course, they drew on the power of team, making sure that even if students weren’t physically together, teamwork was a driving force behind the experience.
Many weeks–and even more jumping jacks–later, we are so proud of what we were able to accomplish alongside ICM this Fall. Physical activity is a game-changer during times of stress and uncertainty, and through this partnership, we’ve been able to provide that to youth across NYC.
Huge thank you to Ana, Jenna, and Jamaal at ICM and of course, for all of the school teachers who are working tirelessly to help our youth navigate this pandemic.