Find and Support Your Local United Way

Healthy Kids Community Activation Center - Invite a Local Sports Hero

Ask a local athlete to come to a school or community event. But if you don't have a pro, no problem! A high school or college football player, soccer champ or other local sports star can inspire kids to make physical fitness part of their lives. He or she can bring lots of excitement to kick off a group goal, such as a pledge to engage in active play at least an hour a day.

How to Get Started ...

  • Decide on an event. How will the athlete interact with kids? Invite sports stars to something planned or create a special event. For example, consider school assemblies, end-of-year picnics, fitness clinics, pep rallies or anyplace else where kids gather.
  • Find the athlete(s). Talk to athletic directors or coaches at area schools about how to involve their players. Many high schools and colleges already expect their student-athletes to perform community service. Volunteering to support youth fitness is a great fit both for your group and for the athlete and his or her school.
  • Be clear about your goal. Just the presence of a well-known athlete can inspire kids. But go further. Set a goal or announce a specific challenge to the group (for example, a group pledge to engage in active play at least an hour a day). When you invite the athletes, ask them to kick off the event, promote the goal and talk about the benefits of fitness and healthy eating.
  • Build on the message. The athletes will only be with the kids a short time, but their message can have a long-term effect. Video or photograph the event to share with kids and their families. Younger kids can make posters or activity sheets to track progress. Ask teachers, group leaders and others to reinforce the message.

To Learn More ...

  • Many local United Ways have partnerships with college teams. For example, the 12 schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference work with United Ways in Massachusetts, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Check with your United Way to see what you can do to help promote youth health and wellness with them.
  • Find out about United Way's partnership with the NFL, which involves players from all 32 pro teams in encouraging kids to get fit or about the NFL's Play 60 campaign, which challenges kids to spend at least an hour daily in active play.

Or Consider This...

If you're a high school or college athlete (or related to one), think about how you can inspire kids in your community! A call to a PE teacher or Boys and Girls Club may open up new doors for them-and for you!

Share with Others ...

Already connecting kids with their hometown sports heroes? Tell us how!