The Online Physical Education Network (OPEN), a SUNY Cortland partner, is one of five finalists for the national Partnership for a Healthier America’s Catalyst for Change Award.
The award recognizes PHA partners and community leaders that exemplify positive change by creating solutions to end the childhood obesity crisis and make the healthy choice the easy choice for busy parents and families. The winner will be announced in September.
“This is a tremendous honor for our entire organization and all of our partners,” said OPEN Executive Director Aaron Hart M ’99, a SUNY Cortland graduate and adjunct lecturer in physical education at the College.
OPEN is a national grassroots organization of teachers helping teachers working to provide physical educators free curricula online and professional development experiences. A public service of BSN Sports and U.S. Games, OPEN uses a network of 44 national trainers to provide curriculum support and professional development experiences to teachers around the world. More than 35,000 teachers have downloaded lesson plans and resources that have reached 18.6 million students.
“Collectively, we’ve created a movement that is reshaping the way physical education teachers receive curriculum and ongoing professional development,” Hart said. “Our mission was to democratize access to outcomes-based resources for our nation’s physical education community.”
OPEN is joined by Brighter Bites, the National Fitness Foundation, SuperChefs and the Walking Classroom Institute as finalists for the PHA Impact Award. It is presented to a group or individual that has sparked change at the community level to help innovate a healthier future. Finalists must demonstrate how the organization or individual is showing measureable outcomes with populations disproportionately impacted by obesity, collaborating with other organizations in the childhood obesity effort for greater impact or using an innovative approach to address the mission to end childhood obesity.
“The third annual Catalyst for Change Awards finalists are at the forefront our nation’s culture shift towards health and wellness,” said PHA President and CEO Nancy E. Roman. “Partnership for a Healthier America is extremely pleased to acknowledge the companies and organizations bringing us closer towards our goal of ensuring that all young people grow up free from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with excess weight. Collectively, the finalists are already making a meaningful difference in thousands of lives. It’s thrilling to imagine what lies ahead as these organizations continue to innovate new ways to ensure families live healthier lives.”
Two years ago, SUNY Cortland joined a few dozen other colleges in committing to the PHA’s guidelines for creating one of the healthiest campuses in the United States. It’s an effort that takes a holistic approach to health — nutrition, recreation and, of course, physical activity.
“I’m grateful to be recognized on a national stage for the work that we’ve done,” Hart said. “What’s even more exciting is that we are really just getting started.”
Winners will be announced at the PHA Fit to Celebrate Gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 27, 2018.
PHA was created in conjunction with, but independent from, former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Effort. It identifies, accelerates and celebrates voluntary business practices that improve or increase choice or lead to new norms and behavior around food and physical activity.
For more information, contact Hart at 607-753-5619.