The First Lady wants you to help keep kids moving this summer. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Study after study has shown that kids' brains get flabby during the summer—those who don't continue the learning process are likely to fall two to three months behind their peers between now and August. And, with summer school budgets being slashed around the country, the summer of 2010 could prove to be a particularly rough one for retention.
Historically, less attention has been paid to the flab added to kids' waistlines during the summer months. Michele Obama wants to change that, and she's launched a new program to keep both the minds—and the middles—of American kids in shape during the dog days.
Thing is, she needs your help.
The First Lady's "Let's Read, Let's Move" campaign, which kicked off last week, focuses on strategies to keep kids reading and running during the summer. Over at Serve.gov, there are a host of ways you can get involved: promoting back to school health, organizing a book drive, or just reading to a kid. Here's how Obama put it:
"[This] is a nationwide effort calling on all Americans to make service a part of their daily lives. We are asking individuals and community organizations, corporations, foundations, and government to come together and devote their time and energy to help our kids stay active and healthy—and to keep them learning—all summer long."
The summer program is part of the First Lady's signature policy issue, combating childhood obesity. And while keeping waistlines trim over the summer may pose a unique challenge, Obama's track record is pretty impressive. The hard data on her campaign has yet to be crunched, but there's plenty of anecdotal evidence. Consider just these headlines from the past few days:
In Pontiac, Michigan, a high-end chef is committed to making local cafeteria food exciting. Schools across Alabama are set to use Wiis in gym classes. And in San Antonio, an experimental program focused on helping overweight high schoolers has been so successful that the kids in the program are taking its lessons home to their parents.
The San Antonio program, which offers classes specifically designed for kids with body mass indexes of 40 and above, will be adopted by schools around the state next year. And judging by this quote from Ashley Castoreno, a member of the inaugural class who lost 17 pounds, the lessons learned aren't about to be forgotten over the summer.
"I think of myself as a leader in this class. I feel like people are watching me and they'll see if I can do it, they can do it."
Same goes for the "Let's Read, Let's Move" campaign. Click the action link below to get involved.