By JIMI KUSEK
HULA HOOP ENTHUSIAST: Jimi Kusek, background, center,a student at Tulsa Tech’s Career Academy, recently visited a Skelly Elementary first grade class to teach them about the importance of health and fitness. She also demonstrated hula hooping as an effective way to burn calories.
As part of a Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) project, Tulsa Tech Apparel Design student Jimi Kusek recently spent two days visiting a first grade class at Tulsa Public Schools’ Skelly Elementary to talk with them about the importance of exercise.
Kusek, a junior at Tulsa Tech’s Career Academy, recently received second place from FCCLA for her submitted article about the activity.
A few years ago, Kusek weighed over 200 pounds; she credits hula hooping as the catalyst for her weight loss and subsequent health focus. “Hula hooping can help you burn close to 400 calories in 30 minutes,” she says.
Kusek’s goal in speaking to the Skelly first grade class was to raise their awareness and provide further education and encouragement regarding exercise and health.
“America’s child obesity rates have tripled over past decades,” she says. “But that can be changed.
“We need to start changing our habits, but change can be scary.”
At the beginning of her presentation, Kusek entered the room to greet the first graders while hula hooping. She explained to them that exercise can be found in everything they do, from dancing to spinning to jumping in place.
Kusek also talked with them about what exercise actually is and how to do it, she says.
In addition to gaining fitness information, however, students also had opportunity to play games and put what they learned into practice.
Students played high-energy games ranging from racing from one end of the gym to the other to playing Red Light, Green Light, tag and Duck Duck Goose.
“I want students to realize that things that are active and fun can help them be healthier,” Kusek says. “I also wanted to teach them balance with regards to eating healthier, that it’s not a good idea to have candy every day.”
Kusek left students with exercise coloring books that she created, filled with well-known cartoon characters. Students also received fliers to take home to help educate their parents.
“I hope what I did spreads the message to those students of living healthy and that exercise can be fun.”