2 JMU Football Players Helping to Fight Childhood Obesity

By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email
By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email

ELKTON -- The United States is no longer the world's fattest developed nation. That is according to a new report from the United Nations.

In Elkton, kids are learning the importance of health and fitness.

A grant from the U.S. Department of Education is giving the Elkton Boys and Girls Club a chance to do so.

"We have two JMU students this summer that are football players who are working with our kids everyday," said Regina Gilley, the Director of the Elkton Boys and Girls Club.

"The kids come in here, they're smiling, they're laughing. It just makes you feel good inside that you are helping the kids," said Juan Latney, a JMU football player.

"We're just pretty much getting the kids moving honestly. We're running with them, we're stretching with them," said Brandon Lee, another JMU football player.

"This summer we're doing two fitness programs, one is called SPARK, it is a nationally known program that is used by gym teachers and other organizations," said Gilley.

SPARK and programs like Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' initiative are some of the reasons kids in the United States are becoming more active.

At the Elkton Boys and Girls Club, more than 100 kids participate in the SPARK program daily. They spend between 5 and 6 hours being active.

SPARK has helped kids like 13-year-old Austin Carrier to get moving again.

He was once a 190 lbs. Now he's a little lighter.

"182, the last time I checked. From all that running," said Carrier.
Kids like Carrier are inspired by the two JMU football players to live healthier lives.

"Well I've always wanted to be a football player, but the guys

Brandon, Dejuan inspired me to become a better football player," said Carrier.

Carrier now has dreams of playing for Louisiana State University.

The SPARK program will end in early August.

This is the first year it has been in place at the Elkton Boys and Girls club.

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