Now Reading
Say “Yes” to FLIPANY’s Fitness Program Youth Engagement in Sports (YES)

Say “Yes” to FLIPANY’s Fitness Program Youth Engagement in Sports (YES)

View Gallery

In efforts to encourage engagement among students in sports and new sporting opportunities and in efforts to increase consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, FLIPANY with its two-year Youth Engagement in Sports (YES) program has been working with middle school students in Homestead, Florida, and has already seen great results with more students now primed for sport.

Since its inception a year ago, FLIPANY has already seen improvements. With the commencement of its second year, the program focuses on continued exposure to the benefits of sports: creating well-rounded and confident young athletes; improving awareness and understanding of body image among young minds; and teaching life lessons such as perseverance, goal setting, hard work causes and effects, losing with grace and empathy all through this innovative sports platform.

Michelle McCaw, Program Manager, said, “Soccer, basketball, football and volleyball are a few of the sports involved in this program. The YES fitness program is funded by a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services partnering with the Office for Minority Health. The federal goal is to review these funded programs for best practices and evidence of what works to engage sport-reluctant youth in wellness and physical activity and replicate our success in more communities. Minority youth, especially girls, are more likely to suffer the consequences of poor health than other youth, and to break down barriers to a healthy life for minority, sport-reluctant, food-insecure youth is critical.”

She continued, “The YES initiative intends to identify characteristics of effective collaborations that improve physical activity and nutrition via increased sports participation. The target population is racial or ethnic minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged male and female 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, particularly those who reside in communities where no or few youth sports programs exist. YES projects will develop and implement sports-fitness programs based on successful evidence-based strategies of youth engagement. Projects are expected to serve and retain a minimum of 130 youth over a two-year YES initiative period and to maximize the number of youths served. Youth recruited, served, and retained over the course of the intervention should be those who do not meet current physical activity guidelines for children and youth.”

Currently, the program is providing access to nutrition, education, sports programming, and physical activity in only two charter schools due to lack of funding. Physical activity and sports programming are integrated into the physical education courses. McCaw confidently replied, “FLIPANY is actively working to secure funds to expand the intervention model in other schools that serve low-income students.” McCaw adds, “The project promotes acceptance for all skill levels. Some sessions are divided into co-ed groups and some are not. We have seen an increase in students’ confidence level to participate in sports.

Students have also expressed that they have enjoyed learning more about nutrition and the variety of physical activity exercises. We collect data on students’ food choices and have seen a measurable increase in consumption of vegetables and a measurable decrease in consumption of sugary drinks. This program is unique in its design of sports-sampling menus that allow students to choose for themselves what activity to engage in and at what level of effort. Social-emotional learning is built into all the sports lessons, and all activities are adapted for fun and success at every level of skill, fitness, and interest. Students are invited to learn about what is behind sport-reluctance and unhealthy choices in everyday life and to see new ways of looking at making healthy choices for themselves.”

When talking of the benefits of the program, Palm Glades Preparatory Academy coach Anton Graham said, “The program has increased our capacity to support students and has shown us new ways to guide students through a hands-on health and wellness curriculum within the state-required Engaged Citizenship course. Thanks to our FLIPANY coach-partner, we are better able to mentor students and help them achieve success in all areas of development., especially through this pandemic.”

Everglades Preparatory Academy’s P.E. teacher and coach, Christian Armenteros, said, “The program has provided support in staffing, equipment, and curriculum.” Makayla Hughes, Engaged Citizenship teacher at Everglades Preparatory Academy, said, “The program has been a positive change in my class this year. The students and I look forward to new, exciting projects and assignments. With the help of FLIPANY, behavior has improved and academics have gone up.”

See Also

Student and participant of the program, Christopher Gonzalez-Camero, said, “I have learned how to play sports better, take care of plants, and how to eat better.” Andres Santos, another program participant, said, “This program has helped me learn more about volleyball, football, and gardening.” Student Lucas Aguiar said, “FLIPANY has benefited me by teaching me to be a healthier person in multiple ways. They have taught me to watch my weight and they taught me how to improve my diet. They also taught me all this in fun ways with Kahoot and doing exercises. They also made smoothies with healthy ingredients.

FLIPANY also taught us how we can improve. I’m very grateful for all that FLIPANY has done for us. Fellow student Nahyla Roldan also showed high acclaim for the program, and said, “The program has benefited me because it’s shown me a lot about how to channel and agree with my emotions and my mental health. It’s shown me how to eat, exercise and be me in the healthiest way possible. It’s shown me to protect myself and how to keep my mind and body right. This program even taught me when I was in 7th Grade how to keep a balanced meal.”
McCaw concluded, “Our program can always use behind-the-scenes help. Currently, we are looking for local Homestead businesses to provide wellness incentives, such as vouchers for healthy activities, sports and food.”

For more information or to get involved, contact Michelle McCaw at, or call (954) 526-8527. Say “Yes” to finding out more about FLIPANY’s Youth Engagement in Sports [YES] Fitness Program, and visit

Haz clic para leer en Español: Di “Sí” a FLIPANY Programa de fitness, Participación de jóvenes en deportes (YES)

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright © 2014 - 2020 GLM | All rights reserved.

Scroll To Top