Thousands of Kids are Given the Chance to Get Active and Healthy

By U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Special for  USDR

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF today announced the launch of the 2016 UNICEF Kid Power school program, expanding to 13 cities across the country and empowering more than 70,000 elementary school children to get active and save lives. More than 3,200 teams of third  through fifth-graders in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas,Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Phoenix, Portland (Maine), Sacramento, San Francisco/Oakland and Washington D.C. will join the UNICEF Kid Power Team beginning in early 2016 and help save the lives of severely malnourished children around the  world.

Each city will kick-off its own 30-day “UNICEF Kid Power Month” challenge for participating teams of students who will do their part to make the world a healthier place. While taking steps to end global malnutrition, students will learn about the importance of physical activity and becoming global  citizens.

UNICEF Kid Power is a program of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, and is made possible through the generous support of Presenting Sponsors Star Wars: Force for Change and Target, as well as local supporters, parents and fans. Thanks to this funding, participating students from high-need schools will have the opportunity to take part in the UNICEF Kid Power school program, a teacher-led classroom experience that leverages easy-to-use technology and standards-based curriculum to promote fitness and global citizenship. The technology includes UNICEF Kid Power Bands for students and classroom tablets for syncing and tracking progress. The curriculum includes lessons, engagement opportunities and quizzes on malnutrition and global citizenship to keep kids inspired and engaged. Students will be cheered on by their parents, communities, city officials and local sports teams to inspire them to stay active during Kid Power Month and  beyond.

By playing, running, jumping and more with the UNICEF Kid Power Band – the world’s first Wearable-for-Good™ – kids earn Kid Power Points. Points unlock funding from Kid Power sponsors and supporters, and funding is used by UNICEF to deliver lifesaving packets of therapeutic food to severely malnourished children around the world. The more kids move, the more points they earn and the more lives they  save.

“When UNICEF Kid Power is introduced in classrooms from coast to coast, tens of thousands of students will improve their lives and help save the lives of their peers around the world, creating a powerful kids-helping-kids movement,” said U.S. Fund for UNICEF President and CEO Caryl M. Stern. “Every step they take will bring us one step closer to ending global malnutrition and ensuring that every child has a strong and healthy future ahead of  them.”

The 2016 nationwide expansion of the UNICEF Kid Power school program follows activations during the 2014/2015 school year inBoston, Dallas, New York and Sacramento. An independent evaluation of Sacramento schools found that students engaged in Kid Power were 55 percent more active than their peers. A second independent evaluation of schools in Boston, Dallas and New York produced similar results, and showed a 30 percent increase in the number of days in which students met their daily requirements for physical activity*. Not only were kids participating in UNICEF Kid Power significantly more active than their peers, but this motivated group earned enough Kid Power points to unlock 188,850 therapeutic food packets, enough to save the lives of 1,259  children.

Globally, one in four children is malnourished – about 159 million children worldwide – while one in four children in the United States is inactive. Malnutrition is attributable to nearly half of all deaths of children under age five, and 16 million children suffer from the most life-threatening form of malnutrition – severe acute malnutrition – which can require specialized care with therapeutic food packets. The therapeutic food packets unlocked by UNICEF Kid Power contain a specially-designed protein and vitamin-rich peanut paste, which allows children who are severely malnourished to be treated in their communities and has the potential to transform the lives of millions of malnourished children around the  world.

The growth in the Kid Power school program comes on the heels of the national retail launch of UNICEF Kid Power Bands inNovember 2015, allowing families everywhere to join the UNICEF Kid Power Team by purchasing a Kid Power Band, available at Target.com and in select Target stores, and downloading the free companion App.**  Two Star Wars: Force for Change Bands are also available in “light side” white and “dark side” black. Kids and families everywhere can use the UNICEF Kid Power Band to get active, go on missions to learn about new cultures and earn points that help save  lives.

The UNICEF Kid Power school programs and Kid Power Month will take place  in:

  • San Francisco/Oakland – January 18–February  12
  • Phoenix – February 16–March 11
  • Dallas – February 16–March 11
  • Indianapolis – February 22–March 18
  • Los Angeles – February 22–March 18
  • Sacramento – February 22–March 18
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul – February 22–March 18
  • Atlanta – February 29–March 25
  • Chicago – February 29–March 25
  • Washington D.C.  – February 29–March 25
  • Boston – March 7–April 1
  • New York – March 7–April 1
  • Portland (Maine) – March 7–April 1

For more information, visit the UNICEF Kid Power Schools site or  UNICEFKidPower.org.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.