Originally published June 16, 2020 by LIHerald.com.
By Briana Bonfiglio
Project Fit America has awarded Oceanside Middle School an $18,000 grant for indoor and outdoor fitness equipment, as well as educational materials.
This will include an outdoor “Fit Pit,” as Project Fit calls it, which is essentially a playground of gym-like equipment to use for strength training. The equipment will arrive and be installed during the summer, and physical education teachers will receive training on how to incorporate it into instruction in the fall.
“Physical and mental health are always an important part of what we do,” said Alison Glickman-Rogers, principal of OMS. “We couldn't be happier for this opportunity to have equipment and enhance our physical education curriculum.”
Glickman-Rogers had tried for the past two years to secure Project Fit America’s grant for the middle school. While OMS ranked high in previous competitions for the grant, they fell short in the final rounds.
Then, earlier this year, Glickman-Rogers received a call from a Project Fit America representative, who said that Northwell Cohen Children’s Medical Center and Kohl’s were offering an additional grant this year for the same purpose. “I said, ‘We’re not going to quit here, we’re going to go for it again.’” Glickman-Rogers said.
The middle school principal learned in March that the school received the grant, and she exudes excitement about the opportunities it will provide.
OMS has been dedicated to physical fitness and mental and emotional wellness, especially in the past couple years. Two years ago, the school created an indoor fitness studio for students to utilize. In gym class, physical education teachers include a variety of activities in the curriculum to encourage physical fitness in students’ daily lives.
The new, outdoor “Fit Pit” will help to further this initiative, Glickman-Rogers said. “Having that variety will increase the likelihood that they will find something they want to do outside school so they can maintain physical wellbeing,” she noted. “The idea is that all students would learn and then come back at any time and use it to stay active.”
Glickman-Rogers also noted that since it will be outdoors, the community is also welcome to visit and use the equipment to stay fit.
“We don't want children and families to feel that they need to pay for gym membership or trainer,” she added. “This is free, on the premise, so that people can walk or jog to the middle school and take advantage of the equipment to do something good and feel good.”