This Thanksgiving, we are thankful to the Novato and Marin County communites for giving us an abundance of “increases” during the past few years: You’ve increased NovatoSpirit’s funding by 66 percent, enabling us to serve 57 percent more kids since our first year of operation seven years ago. There are more healthy and happy kids in our program than ever before.
The gift of an athletic scholarship may be the best medicine for a child, according to medical professionals. An article, written by Dr. Robert Sallis of Kaiser Permanente, affirms that movement is a magic pill. He writes:
What if there was a pill that could lower your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol? What if this same pill gave you more energy and made you feel less depressed? And if that weren’t enough, what if this pill could dramatically cut your risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others?...It is hard to imagine anyone would say no to such a wonder drug. I’m here to tell you it already exists: Exercise.”
Pediatricians at the Marin Community Clinics of Novato value the health benefits of fitness activities, and refer their patients to us. Alicia Suski MD, MPH, a pediatrician serving low-income youth at Marin Community Clinics earlier this year, wrote:
“Many of our pediatric patients are, or are at risk of, being obese. Pediatric obesity is a well-established risk factor for diabetes, cardiac disease, and lifelong disability. Without access to safe and affordable after-school activities, these children have limited opportunities to maximize their health. NovatoSpirit has designed an outstanding program and I consider it to be an outstanding resource for my patients and my community.”
Many kids have said that they’ve gotten in better shape, thanks to their NovatoSpirit scholarship. A high school girl, who has been with us for 5 years, wrote about her karate scholarship: “I have come to think of karate as much more than a sport. Yes, it is an amazing sport, but you put your best into it, and so much more is taken out from it. Physical endurance, ability, ability to think, not to act wrong, to make the best of situations. So much is taken from it ... I want to keep going until getting a black belt.”
Thank you for giving this girl, and the other NovatoSpirit kids, a gift they will always appreciate. Special thanks go to the congregation of Unity in Marin at Hamilton Center and to County Supervisor Judy Arnold for their generous grants last month. For more information, please see Novatospirit.org.