Kids playing with electronic devices too much? This program will get them on their feet.

Little Candace scored six three-pointers in her basketball game this weekend. Too bad it was on her iPad and not on the court.

Sound familiar to any parents out there? Kids spending an inordinate amount of time in front of electronics instead of getting up and running around on their own two feet?

Well, mom Kathleen Tullie was not a fan of this scenario, so she decided to create a morning fitness program to get kids going before school.


But she had to fight for it, even with a community of parents behind her.

Kathleen Tullie, founder of BOKS. Photo via BOKS.

Tullie was a seasoned businesswoman when a downturn in the market and her cancer diagnosis convinced her to give up her career and become a stay-at-home mom. While reading a book called "Spark" by John Ratey about how regular exercise has the power to improve brain functionality, she was inspired to take a hard look at her kids' school's physical fitness program.

"We have an obesity and mental health crisis — why are we not letting our kids run around before school? I had elementary school kids, and they were only getting PE at school once a week," says Tullie.

She brought the idea of a before-school fitness program run by parents to her kids' school principal.

Kids in BOKS program doing jumping jacks. Photo via Kathleen Tullie.

It seemed like a no-brainer, but even armed with a group of parents committed to hosting the program, the principal gave a resounding "no."

He thought it would be too much trouble.

Naturally, that didn't stop Tullie. She kicked the idea over to the superintendent, who loved it and told her to run with it (pun intended).

She then sent out an email announcing the program to all the parents, and within a week, nearly 100 kids were geared up to go.

Once it was in full swing, she started receiving tons of emails from parents and teachers saying what a profound impact the workout was having on their kids.

They were sleeping better, had better attitudes, and were performing better academically.

Kid running in BOKS program. Photo via BOKS.

Tullie never imagined the interest it would get and decided to form a nonprofit to elevate her mission.

First, she wrote to that author, John Ratey, to tell him of her plans for the nonprofit. He immediately wrote back saying, “I’ll be a director. Let’s start something.”  

Then Tullie went to Reebok to see if they'd be willing to do a T-shirt sponsorship. She ended up speaking to Matt O'Toole, Reebok's CEO, about the program for two hours.

He told her he loved what she was doing and wanted to back them to "help reinvigorate a culture of participants."

Just like that, they were taken under the umbrella of the Reebok Foundation, and the program became known as BOKS.

From there, BOKS spread like wildfire. Seven years later, it's now in 2,500 schools and four different countries.

BOKS kids running a relay race. Photo via Kathleen Tullie.

Tullie, along with her original "Mom Team" Cheri Levitz and Jen Lawrence, could not be more thrilled that BOKS took off. Sure, there were hard times, like the first year and a half when none of them took home a paycheck, but their dedication paid off in a big way.

"I feel like I’ve been given this opportunity where I have to make a difference," says Tullie. "I want to get to the point where every school is active."

Her son and daughter are now 13 and 16, love fitness and play all sorts of sports. She hopes her endeavor has inspired them to go after their dreams with everything they've got.

What fuels Tullie most are the incredible success stories she hears from parents, teachers, and trainers all the time.

A trainer with kids playing BOKS games. Photo via Kathleen Tullie.

One woman in particular who always stands out as truly inspiring to her is Jesse Farren James, a mom from Boston who's been a lead trainer at an inner-city school for three and a half years and has always struggled with her weight.

When it was first suggested she become lead trainer, she wasn't sure she'd be an appropriate role model, but that quickly changed.

"BOKS gave me a chance to show kids that no matter what size and shape you are, if you are a natural born athlete or have a lot to work on, BOKS is fun," writes James in an email. "BOKS reminded me that fat or thin, I am of use. I can make a difference, a big one."

That's why Tullie's goal is for there to be a program like BOKS in every school. If kids see fitness as fun, accessible, and totally inclusive, they might make it part of their routine for the rest of their lives.

Interested in bringing BOKS to your community? Sign up for their training program here.

Find out more about what BOKS is all about here:

Our children are expected to live five fewer years than we will. And it's from something preventable.

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Women around the world are constantly bombarded by traditional and outdated societal expectations when it comes to how they live their lives: meet a man, get married, buy a home, have kids.

Many of these pressures often come from within their own families and friend circles, which can be a source of tension and disconnect in their lives.

Global skincare brand SK-II created a new campaign exploring these expectations from the perspective of four women in four different countries whose timelines vary dramatically from what their mothers, grandmothers, or close friends envision for them.

SK-II had Katie Couric meet with these women and their loved ones to discuss the evolving and controversial topic of marriage pressure and societal expectations.

SK-II

"What happens when dreams clash with expectations? We're all supposed to hit certain milestones: a degree, marriage, a family," Couric said before diving into conversation with the "young women who are defining their own lives while navigating the expectations of the ones who love them most."

Maluca, a musician in New York, explains that she comes from an immigrant family, which comes with the expectation that she should live the "American Dream."

"You come here, go to school, you get married, buy a house, have kids," she said.

Her mother, who herself achieved the "American Dream" with hard work and dedication when she came to the United States, wants to see her daughter living a stable life.

"I'd love for her to be married and I'd love her to have a big wedding," she said.

Chun Xia, an award-winning Chinese actress who's outspoken about empowering other young women in China, said people question her marital status regularly.

"I'm always asked, 'Don't you want to get married? Don't you want to start a family and have kids like you should at your age?' But the truth is I really don't want to at this point. I am not ready yet," she said.

In South Korea, Nara, a queer-identifying artist, believes her generation should have a choice in everything they do, but her mother has a different plan in mind.

SK-II

"I just thought she would have a job and meet a man to get married in her early 30s," Nara's mom said.

But Nara hopes she can one day marry her girlfriend, even though it's currently illegal in her country.

Her mother, however, still envisions a different life for her daughter. "Deep in my heart, I hope she will change her mind one day," she said.

Maina, a 27-year-old Japanese woman, explains that in her home country, those who aren't married by the time they're 25 to 30, are often referred to as "unsold goods."

Her mom is worried about her daughter not being able to find a boyfriend because she isn't "conventional."

"I really want her to find the right man and get married, to be seen as marriage material," she said.

After interviewing the women and their families, Couric helped them explore a visual representation of their timelines, which showcased the paths each woman sees her life going in contrast with what her relatives envision.

SK-II

"For each young woman, two timelines were created. One represents the expectations. The other, their aspirations," Couric explained. "There's often a disconnect between dreams and expectations. But could seeing the difference lead to greater understanding?"

The women all explored their timelines, which included milestones like having "cute babies," going back to school, not being limited by age, and pursuing dreams.

By seeing their differences side-by-side, the women and their families were able to partake in more open dialogue regarding the expectations they each held.

One of the women's mom's realized her daughter was lucky to be born during a time when she has the freedom to make non-traditional choices.

SK-II

"It looks like she was born in the right time to be free and confident in what she wants to do," she said.

"There's a new generation of women writing their own rules, saying, 'we want to do things our way,' and that can be hard," Couric explained.

The video ends with the tagline: "Forge your own path and choose the life you want; Draw your own timeline."

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