Not surprisingly, there is no greater feeling than giving back. Volunteer groups and nonprofits work tirelessly to make our communities stronger, but they can't do it alone. So when we were invited to help organize the 2014 B'N Fit Annual Teen & Community Walk, we didn't hesitate to accept!
With our help, R&B singer Elle Varner joined the Pretty Girls Sweat (PGS) team to lead 200 teens and Bronx community members in a 2 mile walk on the breathtaking grounds of The New York Botanical Garden on Saturday, May 17th, 2014. The RCA recording artist, who admitted to struggling with her weight as a teen, completed the walk with the enthusiastic group, provided words of encouragement, and surprised everyone with an impromptu performance of her inspirational song "So Fly".
She closed the event by presenting a PGS gift basket filled with Pretty Girls Sweat apparel, beauty products, inspirational books and Beats by Dre headphones to one adorable winner.
Teen obesity and limited access to health education and fitness outlets are some of the biggest issues facing Bronx youth. The B’N Fit Annual Teen and Community Walk is presented by B’N Fit, a joint program of Mosholu Montefiore Community Center Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, in conjunction with Teen Diaries’ Pretty Girls Sweat (PGS) program and serves as the culmination of the year long program.
MMCC provides the physical and nutritional education portions of the program. CHAM provides clinical, medical and curriculum support. Eligible participants are adolescents between the age of 12 and 21 who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than the 95th percentile for age and sex. B’N Fit serves 100-125 overweight adolescents per year. In addition to direct program participants, 100 to 200 family members are concurrently offered programming to support healthy lifestyle behaviors for the entire family.
Special thanks to our generous sponsors, Jason Hobdy (MBK Entertainment), teen fitness model The Cleopatra Lee, our Pretty Girls Sweat volunteers (Ajani Braitwaite, Selena Covington, and Antoinique Abraham), and the outstanding MMCC team including Arline Rubel, Laurie Bandremer, Rita Santelia, Rachel Tainey, Jessica Reider, and Sherice Brammer.
The Bronx Nutrition and Fitness Initiative for Teens (B'N Fit) Program was developed by the Division of Adolescent Medicine at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) and the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) in 2006. B’N Fit strives to comprehensively address the issue of adolescent obesity.The mission of B’N Fit is to provide a safe environment for teens that need access to comprehensive weight loss services. The program teaches teens how to adopt healthy, lifelong nutritional and physical activity skills; to develop coping skills; enhance their sense of personal responsibility; and how to better utilize family, social and community resources to achieve healthy personal goals. Family members also engage in programming that promotes active and healthy lifestyles.
Teen Diaries Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides hands on and virtual programming for multicultural women (ages 13-22) across the nation. The direct service includes Pretty Girls Sweat fitness events focused on motivating young women to live active lifestyles, participate in organized sports, and support the fight against childhood obesity as well as a mentoring portion dedicated to linking young girls with professional women who work in the entertainment industry. The Pretty Girls Sweat (PGS) Ambassador program gives college students the opportunity to encourage their peers to stay fit by giving them a platform to create and publish inspirational social media content and host on-campus fitness gatherings. In addition, the Teen Reporter Program provides hands on and e-mentoring to high school and college age students interested in pursuing careers in journalism (such as online media, radio, TV, newspaper, and magazines). The information and opportunities they offer help their target population transition into womanhood successfully and empower them to be future leaders. They have been affecting the lives of young women worldwide since 2007 through various platforms including TeenDiaries.net, TD Radio, and PrettyGirlsSweat.com! For more information, visit TeenDiariesFoundation.org
Photo Credit: Ajani Brathwaite