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Getting Kids Moving, One Parent Volunteer At A Time

This article is more than 8 years old.

For America's kids, it's safe to say at this point that summer is over. School is back in session, and for many students, that means a lot more time sitting at a desk, and a lot less time running around outside. But not for all.

At a growing number of schools across the country, parents are taking it upon themselves to give kids more opportunities for physical activity outside gym class.

Kathleen Tullie started the program Build Our Kids' Success (BOKS), at her kids' school in 2009.

"Within a couple weeks, we had parents and teachers email us about what a positive difference they were seeing in their kids," Tullie said. "That's when I had the 'a-ha' moment that maybe here we are where we can create a movement."

Run entirely by volunteers — usually parents, sometimes teachers, too — BOKS is free, and gets kids running, playing games, practicing exercises, and learning about nutrition, usually before the official school day begins.

In the last few years, the program has expanded to at least 1,000 schools in 44 states and four countries.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson visits the Academy Avenue School in Weymouth, Massachusetts, to see BOKS in action.

Dr. Jennifer Curtis Whipple, the principal at the Academy Avenue School says students are more engaged as a result of the physical activity.

"Some of our kids who have a difficult time attending as well as the other kids, we see them settling a little more and definitely engaged in the academics," Whipple said. "I think it's so important to create these habits while they are young, so as they grow up, they become healthy adults."


  • Kathleen Tullie, founder of BOKS.
  • Melinda Fulton, parent volunteer, leads BOKS at the Academy Avenue School in Weymouth, Mass.
  • Jennifer Curtis-Whipple, principal of Academy Avenue School in Weymouth, Mass.
  • Julia Preble, 8-year-old student at Academy Avenue School.

This segment aired on September 8, 2014.


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