By Alfred Chavira, Director of Health and Wellness Programs at Any Baby Can and SA2020 Ambassador in Health & Fitness
Meet Daniela and Aaron, siblings, health advocates, and best friends. Daniela is a five-year-old gymnast, baseball player, and fitness lover whose passion is to always ask her brother, “Can I play with you?” Daniela was diagnosed with Down syndrome at the age of two. Aaron is an eight-year-old basketball and baseball player, energetic, and loving brother whose passion is staying active and making sure he always answers “yes” to Daniela’s ongoing question.
According to the Center for Disease Control, one in every eight preschoolers in the US is overweight or obese. Children diagnosed with a developmental disability are 33% at higher risk of becoming overweight or obese, which puts them at an even greater risk for many health problems down the road. With statistics as high as reported, it is up to every single one of us to do our part. Especially for those who require a little extra attention and patience. Like Daniela, there are many children, adolescents, and adults that do not have a big brother Aaron to help teach them how to catch a baseball or shoot a basketball. Aaron and Daniela are a great example of creating change within their community by simply participating! How so?
Many working pieces were in motion when Aaron and Daniela became involved, but they were the final piece. They saw an opportunity with “Fit Kids and Sibs,” an adapted exercise class hosted by Any Baby Can and their health and wellness program, Any Body Can. Their excitement and involvement in fitness opened the opportunity to serve as student leaders, leaders for what they soon discovered was a Silver and Black Give Back Foundation funded ($1,000 seed money) project that only lasted the summer.
Once the summer came to an end, they volunteered to present their experience, on behalf of Any Body Can and Fit Kids and Sibs, to the Silver and Black Give Back Foundation board for an opportunity to receive an additional $10,000 for Fit Kids and Sibs.
Since then, they have been making their rounds and telling their story about how two siblings, both under the age of 10, played a part in Any Baby Can’s health and wellness program, and the summer project got to grow due to the funding they helped find. They made quite a difference (Great Day SA)!
So how can you get involved? An awesome place to begin is creating a profile on SA2020.org. You will have the opportunity to select the causes that you are passionate about within the community and sign up to volunteer. You can also help spread the word of SA2020 by inviting others to create a profile and sign up for volunteer opportunities. And odds are, you’re already doing something to contribute to SA2020. If we can work together, like Aaron and Daniela, we can make amazing things happen for our city.