Saturday, January 31, 2009

Plant a Seed and Watch It Grow

I was intrigued when I saw the title in my in-box...Frosted Flakes Plant-a-Seed. At first I thought...another tree-planting initiative...sigh. Not that they aren't extremely important; they're just not ground-breaking. (Okay, Okay, I know that in the most technical sense, they are ground-breaking, but you get my point.)

Then I read further. The Plant-a-Seed program aims to help boost America's children by rebuilding America's playing fields. In times of economic crisis, the first thing to go in education funding dollars always seem to be athletics and the arts which results in the same amount of hardship, if not as immediate, as when funding is cut for social services.

I remember a very passionate school-board meeting when I was in high school that revolved around the cutting of athletics from the budget completely. Where I grew up participation in sports was widespread. We had a four day school-week in part because the athlete to student population ratio was such that, in our small school, game-days resulted in the inability to meet the percentage of students present to 'count' as a school day. Thus, games on Fridays and Saturdays only were the compromise.

We had a scraggly football field surrounded by a pea gravel track that wasn't even regulation size. After I graduated, the football coach and several others organized fundraising of mammoth proportions in order to build a 'real' stadium and track.

One of the sports that I participated in was Cross-Country. If you looked at me then, or now, you would definitely not say "wow, she's a runner!" But that didn't matter. Because of the benefits (both physically, emotionally and socially) that I got from being a member of that team (a state-championship team, no less), I know that I'm a better, stronger person. For that reason, I was really excited about the Girls on the Run program that is a link from the Kellogg's site.

I have always felt that you can't down-play the importance of organized sports in building esteem, communication, and the ability to be a 'team player', something that even law enforcement officials recognize. Here in Worcester, the Police Department's Gang and Vice Unit was nominated for a 2007 Project Safe Neighborhood Award after their boxing program has proven to be successful in engaging at-risk youth.

Encouraging kids to work hard, eat right, believe in themselves and to have at least 60 minutes of active play everyday will help them to 'earn their stripes.' The field renovation initiative will make over approximately 50 fields across the United States to help provide better places for families to stay active. So, if you know of a field you want to nominate that is in need of repair, would like to help support the repair of a field or if you know of someone who has a passion for athletics and might know of one, forward them this link and get those seeds planted!

(Watch for it on the Superbowl!)

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