+
upworthy
Family

These moms are conquering a huge obstacle: helping kids see that exercise is fun.

True
BOKS

When the moms at Roosevelt K-8 School got together to start a fitness program for their kids, one mom was not feeling enthusiastic.

“When I was in school it was, ‘How many pullups can you do?’” Jesse Farren-James says. “Well, I could do zero, and it was horrible.”

Having struggled with her weight on and off throughout life, Farren-James felt like the last person who should be helping lead an exercise program.


Butone problem at her sons' school left her feeling like she had no choice but to do something.

Farren-James and her family dog, Arrow. All photos via Jesse Farren-James, used with permission.

“Our school doesn’t offer gym until fifth grade,” she says. “So there are some kids who can’t do any sports and really get virtually no physical activity.”

With school days getting longer and daylight getting shorter, Farren-James’ two sons, Patrick and Sean, were getting fewer and fewer opportunities to get active outside of school.

Other kids, whose families had fewer resources, were treading dangerously close to being totally sedentary.

Jesse with husband Kevin and sons, Sean and Patrick.

Despite her hesitation, Farren-James agreed to come on as a parent volunteer when the rest of the moms decided to launch BOKS at the school.

To Farren-James’ relief, BOKS was not the kind of fitness program that she remembered from her own school days.

The program, which stands for Building Our Kids’ Success,is a 45-minute before-school fitness routine.

It follows a robust, evidence-based and scaleable curriculum established by the BOKS organization that consists of some free play, a warmup, a running-related activity, a “skill of the week” (like pushups or situps), a fun end-of-class game, and a cool-down that includes some discussion about nutrition.

And, as Farren-James soon found out, the program places a much higher value on simply getting active and having fun than it does on counting jumping jacks or perfecting a child’s pushup.

“This is not competition. It’s doing our personal best, learning new skills, trying our hardest,” she says. “It’s working on the holistic aspect of bettering ourselves.”

Plus, the kids are having fun.

The impact the program has had on the kids is astounding says Farren-James.

When it comes to the kids, the program encourages more focus on fun and activity than on measuring repetitions or speed. But since the school's program is sponsored, trainers do take metrics, and participants' overall fitness levels have improved markedly.

"From the beginning to the end, the difference is huge," Farren-James says. "The data shows it: Kids get faster. Kids get stronger. Kids have more endurance."

Teachers, too, have noticed a huge improvement in another area: the students' behavior and focus on days they come from BOKS.

“The kids come into class and they’re just chill," Farren-James says. "They’re in a different space. They’ve gotten their energy out.”

But most importantly, at least to Farren-James, is the life skills that kids learn through participating in BOKS.

The kids become more physically fit, but parents and teachers also see huge improvements in their social skills after some time at BOKS.

"It's incredible — it's a morning class three times a week that gives you almost every skill that you would need in life," says Farren-James. "Work together. Be active. Treat each other with respect."

The kids get to practice leading, following, sharing, and challenging themselves in more ways than just the physical.

In the end, kids walk away from BOKS healthier — in body and in spirit.

Unlike a sports team or a graded gym class, BOKS doesn't assign any particular merit to being able to run faster or play harder. It's all about establishing a healthy relationship with your body — no matter what state that body is in.

Photo via BOKS.

What the kids learn about exercise is something that Farren-James learned through BOKS too.

"It doesn’t have to be tedious and miserable and embarrassing and uncomfortable," she says. "It can just be fun."

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.


Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?

Keep ReadingShow less
Kevin Parry / Twitter

Toronto-based animator and video wizard Kevin Parry has gone mega-viral for his mind-boggling collection of videos where he turns himself into random objects.

In a series of quick clips he changes into everything from a pumpkin to a bright yellow banana and in most of the videos, he appears to suffer a ridiculous death. The videos combine studio trickery with a magician's flair.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.

Keep ReadingShow less
OriginalAll photos belong to Red Méthot, who gave me permission to share them here.

Chloé was born at 32 weeks.


Every single day, babies across the world are born prematurely, which means that they're born before 37 weeks of gestation.

In Canada, about 29,000 infants are born prematurely each year, roughly 1 in every 13. But in the United States, around 400,000 to 500,000 are born early. That's about 1 in every 8 to 10 babies born in the U.S.!

Red Méthot, a Canadian photographer and student, decided to capture the resilience of many of these kids for a school photography project.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

Teacher tries to simulate a dictatorship in her classroom, but the students crushed her

"I’ve done this experiment numerous times, and each year I have similar results. This year, however, was different."

Each year that I teach the book "1984" I turn my classroom into a totalitarian regime under the guise of the "common good."

I run a simulation in which I become a dictator. I tell my students that in order to battle "Senioritis," the teachers and admin have adapted an evidence-based strategy, a strategy that has "been implemented in many schools throughout the country and has had immense success." I hang posters with motivational quotes and falsified statistics, and provide a false narrative for the problem that is "Senioritis."

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

The MC Hammer dance though.

Father and daughter dances are a traditional staple of weddings. They tend to range somewhere between tearfully sweet and hilariously cringey. But sometimes, as was the case of Brittany Revell and her dad Kelly, they can be so freakin’ cool that millions of people become captivated.

Brittany and Kelly’s video, which amassed, I kid you not, more than 40 million views on TikTok, shows the pair grooving in sneakers (Brittany’s were white because, hello, wedding dress) to their “dance through the decades.”

It all began with Young MC’s “Bust a Move,” to give you a clear picture. And bust a move, they did.

Though the duo did a handful of iconic moves—the tootsie roll, the MC Hammer dance, the Carlton, just to name a few—“the dougie,” made famous by Cali Swag District, was the obvious fan favorite.
Keep ReadingShow less