After-School Activities Boost Children’s Confidence

A West Covina, California gym owner is making a difference in the lives of school-aged children, offering free running, cardio, and weight lifting classes after school four days a week. Called “Maria’s Kids After School,” the program allows children between 12 and 17 years old to go to CrossFit Insurgent after 3 p.m. for an hour of learning and exercise.

CrossFit Insurgent owner Brian Franzen first started the program to provide guidance for children whose parents could not afford organized sports. Some parents even have multiple children in the program. Corrine Carmona has had three children participate.

“Everywhere else you go, you have to pay,” she told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. “I think it was so awesome of him to do that for the kids. There are a lot of parents who can’t afford it.”

As children between 10 and 16 increase their amount of physical activity, their self-esteem and self-efficacy improve.

Franzen created his after school program to help children learn. Telling the San Gabriel Valley Tribune about the recreation center where he spent much of his childhood, Franzen explains: “I learned responsibility and discipline. I feel like it’s my turn to provide something like that for the kids and families who may not have the funds to put them through organized sports.”

Teens in Danville, Kentucky are also working with similar goals in mind. Ellie Begley and Maddi Karsner, of Boyle County High School, have volunteered to teach gymnastics at the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD).

Gymnastics class at KSD is once a week, and is open to boys and girls of elementary school age. In the summer, class will be offered twice a week as a part of summer school, and the teens hope to continue teaching in the fall.

Because neither teen is proficient in sign language, they rely on interpreters, teachers, and parents to help them communicate with the students. In return for gymnastics training, the students are helping the teens learn to sign.

Ramona Karsner, Maddi’s mother and leader of KSD’s kindergarten through eighth grade program, has noticed the students gaining more confidence and stamina, telling the Advocate-Messenger,”These girls get to help carry on their love for gymnastics and cheer and build that into the kids…It’s a win-win situation.”

Parents wishing to enroll their children in similar programs are encouraged to look for after-school activities in their area.

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