PCSFN 2019 ANNUAL COUNCIL MEETING – PART 1 – SEPTEMBER 19, 2019

PCSFN 2019 ANNUAL COUNCIL MEETING – PART 1 – SEPTEMBER 19, 2019


>>Jennifer Anne Bishop: Good afternoon, everyone.
My name is Jennifer Anne Bishop and I’m the designated federal officer for the President’s
Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. Before we begin, I just wanted to go over a brief
housekeeping item. The first one is, due to the packed agenda,
we are unable to entertain any questions from the audience. However, if you do have questions,
or want to see clarification, please send them to
[email protected] So, F-I-T-N-E-S-S @hhs.gov. Just to reiterate, for those of you attending
in person, if you need to exit the area while this meeting is in session, we do have some
escorts in the back of the room who can help you, but you’ll need to be escorted due to
security concerns. So, please find a volunteer in the rear and
we’re happy to help you. Thank you so much for your cooperation. So, I now call the annual
meeting of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition to order. But first, I
would like to invite Miss Kristina Harder, acting executive director of the President’s
Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, up to the stage to conduct our roll call.>>Kristina Harder: Hello, everybody. Good
afternoon. My name is Kristina Harder, I am the acting executive director of the President’s
Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. I’d like to welcome everyone joining us here in
person, council members here among us, and those who are on phone and online. We are honored that you would spend this time
with us, and we hope you enjoy the wonderful program our team has in store. To begin, I’d
like to conduct roll call. When I call your name, please indicate for the record that
you are present. Misty May-Treanor? Absent. Mariano Rivera?
Absent. Herschel Walker? Absent. Chris Tisi?>>Female Speaker: Present on phone.>>Kristina Harder: Present. Robert Wilkins.>>Robert Wilkins: Present.>>Kristina Harder: Jim Worthington.>>Jim Worthington: Present.>>Kristina Harder: Linda Yaccarino. Absent.
Brenda Becker.>>Brenda Becker: Here.>>Kristina Harder: Present. Bill Belichick.
Absent. Johnny Damon?>>Johnny Damon: Present.>>Kristina Harder: Present. Trevor Drinkwater?>>Trevor Drinkwater: Present.>>Kristina Harder: Present. Robert Goldman.>>Robert Goldman: Present.>>Kristina Harder: Present. Natalie Gulbis?
Absent. Nan Hayworth?>>Nan Hayworth: Present.>>Kristina Harder: Present. Matthew Hesse?
I believe he’s joining us on the line soon, but for now absent. Ashlee Lundvall?>>Ashlee Lundvall: Present.>>Kristina Harder: Present. Jacob Olson?
Absent. Mehmet Oz? We’re waiting for him on the line as well. Shauna Rohbock?>>Shauna Rohbock: Present.>>Kristina Harder: Present. Kyle Snyder?
Absent. Julie Teer. Julie Teer: Present.>>Kristina Harder: Wonderful. Our total number
of council members present, 11. Total number of council members absent, 10. At this time,
I am pleased to invite Admiral Brett Giroir, HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Health, to the
stage. Admiral Giroir is the 16th United States Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department
of Health and Human Services. He serves as the secretary’s principal public
health and science advisor and oversees the department’s key public health offices and
programs, including Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Infectious Disease and Vaccine
Policy, Minority Health, Human Subject Protection, three presidential and 11 secretarial advisory
committees and the Office of the Surgeon General. He leads HHS’ fight against the opioid crisis,
and he is with us here today. Thank you, sir.>>Brett Giroir: Thank you, very much. Hello,
is this on? I think it is on. Well, thank you all, it’s great to see you again. It’s
a little bit warmer in here than it was at the ice rink this morning. So, this is your
classroom time, okay? So, I’m going to spend just a few minutes on the state of the science.
And I think all of you know how passionately I feel about fitness as really a remedy for
so many things that are going on in our health and our country right now. Can I have my slide set up please? Or maybe
I can’t have my slide set up, please. Here we go, state of the science. So, I wanted
to talk to you a little bit about the state of the science. I’m going to give you three
downer slides. But don’t worry, after the three downer slides, we’re going to get to
all of the positive slides. Because I really do believe that the people
around this table, that you can have as much to do with making America healthy as anyone
on the planet. And I mean that very passionately, and that’s why I’m here and feel so strongly
about the president’s council. If you look at the state of the health, we
spend a lot of money in this country. Almost 18% of our gross national product, $3.6 trillion,
on its way to $6 trillion by about 2027. But because even though we spend this money, our
life expectancy compared to our peer countries is very, very low. And, in fact, our life
expectancy has gone down in 2015 and 2017. What that means is we’re the first generation
in over two centuries that our children have the possibility of living less long than we
do. And I know that’s not acceptable to any of us. And we spend about 90% of our expenditures
on chronic conditions. This is something that should concern all of us. About three quarters
of American youth, 17 to 24 years old, would not qualify to get into the military if they
tried to join. And what are the reasons? Number one, they’re
obese and out of shape. Number two, they have substance use issues. Or number three, they’re
not educated enough. And if we don’t reverse this trend, our country will never be able
to continue in its incredible legacy without fixing these things.
And third, as a pediatrician, this is the only graph I will really show you. Is that
when we look at today’s 2-year-olds, if we don’t reverse the trend, this says by the
time they’re 35, 62% of them will be clinically obese. We have to really reverse this. And
those are my three downer slides, but we do have the magic bullet. We have that silver
bullet that can really fix so many of these issues, and it really is physical activity. In November, our office, with the great work
of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, again Lieutenant Commander Piercy over there
and the whole office. We were able to announce the Physical Activity Guidelines for America.
Now, I’m going to tell you what those are and how it could affect all these health outcomes. But let me give you a couple little snapshots.
This is looking backwards about how — what percent of the U.S. adults actually meet the
physical activity guidelines, and it’s very, very small. Less than 23 percent of adults
meet the physical activity guidelines. But if you just met the physical activity guidelines
that I’ll tell you about, it’s estimated that we could save $117 billion in healthcare costs,
and avoid 10 percent of all premature mortality in our country, just by cyclical guidelines. Who’s meeting the guidelines? Now, let’s look
at boys and girls, and these are high school students. If you look from 2011 to 2015, about
30 percent of the boys and less than 15 percent of girls actually meet physical guidelines,
even in that age group. Very, very small number of people. So, what are the guidelines, the new guidelines?
If you’re a small child, aged three through five, you basically should be physically active
through the day. That means you should have active play, kicking a ball, running around.
My two-year-old granddaughter is in constant motion, right? She has an on/off switch. That’s
what children are really meant to do, not sit behind a table and play video games the
entire day. They really need to be active. When you’re 6 through 17, it is advised that
adolescents, children and adolescents, should have about 60 minutes a day of moderate to
vigorous activity, combined with muscle or bone strengthening activity. Moderate activity
would be fast walking. It could be running, it could be dancing, it could be playing basketball. Any of those type of activities. And muscle
strengthening activities like jumping, playing basketball, doing weights, doing pushups.
Now we don’t have to do 1,500 pushups a day, I certainly can’t do 1,500, but you need to
do some. And adults, 150 to 300 minutes of moderate
intensity aerobic exercise a week. Again, that’s fast walking, it could be gardening,
it could be walking upstairs. And very, very importantly, not like it was before, that
you have to do 10 minutes or 20 minutes or 30 minutes. Every second you do counts, and
it all adds up. So, if you just park further in the parking
lot and walk up, that counts. If you take the extra stairs for two minutes, that counts.
So, this really adds up pretty quickly. And then, again, some type of muscle strengthening
activity. Could be weights, could be pushups, could be anything that really strengthens
the muscles in addition to your aerobic activities. So, what are some of the long-term benefits
to this? These are new long-term benefits that we announce. Physical activity prevents
eight types of cancer. Can you believe that? Eight types of cancer. It dramatically reduces
the risk of dementia. Now, you know the problems we have with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
One of the best things you can do is just exercise. It lowers injuries from falls, it reduces
post-partum depression and, of course, it helps with weight. If you already have disease,
it decreases your pain from arthritis. It helps decrease hypertension and type-2 diabetes.
You have a good feeling in your brain, it reduces anxiety and depression and it really
improves your cognition. Whoops. Well — I wanted to show you this,
too. Alzheimer’s is a very important disease. We think there are four to five million people
with Alzheimer’s, and by 2050 we expect it to cost about $1.3 trillion a year to take
care of people with Alzheimer’s. All you have to do — if there were a pill
that did this, it would be the blockbuster of all blockbusters. If you have a high-quality
diet, meaning don’t eat ultra-processed foods, eat real whole foods that you normally get,
you engage in cognitive activities like chess or reading or anything else, you have regular
physical activity, you only have light or moderate alcohol intake and non-smoking, you
can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 60% if you have four of those behaviors,
compared to those who have one or two of those behaviors. That’s really a remarkable item. Benefits
for physical activity in youth, you know what they are. Great growth, great cardiovascular
fitness. Most people don’t know that if kids actually do exercise, they do much better
on their test scores. They do better in school, they do better on their test scores. They
have much better cognitive abilities, which is why all you guys are so smart and on the
president’s council. And, of course, youth sports participation,
which we talked about this morning. It really gives you that feeling of confidence, of independence,
of learning how to work on a team. All of the things that are important for the rest
of your lives. What’s our current youth sports participation? We all know that it’s pretty
low. It’s about 54 percent overall, and that trend has gone down just slightly over the
past years. And we know that not all people are affected
equally. Girls have less opportunity than boys. If you are Hispanic or black, you have
less opportunity than whites. If you’re from a poor family, you have much less opportunity
than others. So, that 54 percent is for the best case, and there are many people we really
leave behind. And that’s, of course, why we were so excited
today to be able, with your help, to announce the National Youth Sports Strategy that we
believe will fix this problem. And I’m so excited that my office was able to provide
$6.7 million in grant funding to 18 organizations across the country. I played Little League,
I played every sport. I coached when our kids were there, and I can just really see what
that opportunity will mean for so many people. The last thing I will say, and I think you
know, is that we are starting again the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition Science
Board. I hope this will be able to work in concert with you, because we always want to
have the best science and evidence. We want to make sure that we’re doing is based in
true medicine and true science, and that we’re at the highest level of efficiency. If we could do X rather than Y, or A rather
than B, we really want that to govern us. So, we really are very excited about restarting
this board. And for everyone to know, we have call for nominations that are there right
now that will close October 11th at about midnight. So, again, I just wanted to share a few things
with you. While many people are discouraged about how much money we spend and how poor
our health is, really, the best thing we can do is better than any pill, is better than
any surgery, is regular physical activity. And if we can start that as youths, it sets
a pattern for your entire lives, and we can really turn this around. So, the key to this is really doing the things
that you’re dedicated to doing, and I want to thank you again for your dedication to
this field, for your being here. I look forward to working with you in the future. Thanks. [applause]>>Kristina Harder: Thank you very much, Admiral
Giroir. We really appreciate you being here. As you all know, in February 2018, President
Donald Trump issued an executive order that refocused the mission of this council to focus
on youth sports participation and increasing that nationwide. Shortly thereafter, he appointed
all of you here on the council, and one year ago this group came together for the first
time in response to this executive order. Executive order also called for HHS to develop
a national strategy to increase youth sports participation. And today, as Admiral Giroir
just mentioned, we are very excited to officially launch and release the National Youth Sports
Strategy, the very first federal roadmap intended to ensure that all youth have the access,
opportunity, motivation to play sports regardless of their race, their ethnicity, their gender,
their ability or their zip code. The strategy is an important first step in
achieving the charge laid out in the executive order from last year to expand and encourage
youth sports participation. During the development process of the strategy, the council had the
opportunity to provide comments and feedback to HHS. Thank you for your insights, which
helped us shape this final strategy. Change that press. Thank you also to those
who were able to join us this morning. We had an event with Secretary Azar, advisor
to the president, Ivanka Trump, and some of our local D.C. teams on the hockey field and
on the baseball field, participating to help get the word out about this strategy. You’ll be hearing more about the strategy
later in the meeting, but you’ll also have the opportunity to discuss your thoughts here
with council members, and ideas about how to implement this strategy. I’d like to take
a moment first to recognize all the work that has been done this past year to further the
mission of the council. Just to highlight a few things. Thank you
to Dr. Oz, who helped us to launch the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines
for Americans during an interview on the Today Show in November and on his show’s website. In March, co-chair Mariano Rivera attended
the opening ceremony of the 2019 Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi as part of the delegation led
by Mrs. Karen Pence, second lady of the United States. In April, co-chair Herschel Walker gave a
keynote speech at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine annual meeting, sharing
important information on the development of the National Youth Sports Strategy. In May, to celebrate the National Physical
Fitness and Sports Month, the president’s council collaborated with James Madison University
to host an inclusive youth sports festival at their University Recreation Center, with
over 100 local youth. A special thanks to Rob Wilkins who was there and attended and
participated in the activities with the kids. In July, council member Linda Yaccarino, in
her role with NBCUniversal, hosted the Peacock Games in New York City to mark the one-year
countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Linda invited council members and the U.S.
Olympic and Paralympic Committee, SportsEngine, and council member Julie Teer’s organization,
the Boys and Girls Club of America, to volunteer at this Olympic-themed event. Council member Ashlee Lundvall and Rob Wilkins
were able to join me at the Peacock Games to help inspire the next generation of Olympians.
This past year, the council reinstated the Community Leadership and Lifetime Achievement
awards. The Lifetime Achievement Award is given to
individuals whose careers have greatly contributed to the advancement or promotion of physical
activity, fitness, sports or nutrition nationwide. Thank you to each of you for taking the time
to review the award candidates and to help us determine this year’s recipients. And congratulations,
of course, to our five well-deserved winners of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Awards.>>Male Speaker: Good afternoon. I apologize
that I am not able –>>Kristina Harder: Oh. I am very sorry about
that. Lifetime Achievement Awards — Dr. James R. Andrews, Donna de Varona, Dean Karnazes,
Debra Kibbe and Jill Vialet. If you’d like more information, we would encourage you to
check out our website, fitness.gov, to learn more about these exceptional individuals and
to see the 31 recipients of this year’s Community Leadership Award. I am also excited to announce that Mr. Scott
Turner will be joining the President’s Council leadership as a special advisor on youth sports.
Scott is an incredibly gifted and dedicated individual who has made his mark in the world
of both politics and in the world of sports. Most recently, he served as Texas state representative
for the 33rd district for four years. Before politics, he was an American football cornerback
in the NFL for nine seasons, playing for the Redskins, San Diego Chargers and the Denver
Broncos. Scott also currently serves as executive director of the White House Opportunity and
Revitalization Council. He will be on detail to us here to help us
implement the work of the National Youth Sports Strategy and to partner with these amazing
council members that we have here today. Now, unfortunately, Scott has a very busy travel
schedule with this Opportunity and Revitalization zone work, but he is very happy to share a
video message with you all which I pre-emptively pressed earlier. But here you go.>>Scott Turner: Good afternoon. I apologize
that I am not able to be there in person today. I’m Scott Turner, and I’m excited to announce
my new role as special advisor to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. In
this role, I will be working with the council and HHS to help ensure that more kids can
experience the benefits of youth sports. I’m currently also working as the executive
director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. In this role, I’m
traveling the country to encourage public and private investment in urban and economically
distressed areas known as opportunity zones. I believe that one of the best ways to invest
in community is to invest in its children. And because of my background as an athlete,
I know that one of the best ways to invest in kids is to invest in youth sports. Sports
can give kids opportunities to gain new skills that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to develop
like leadership, teamwork and an understanding of the importance of a good work ethic. Kids who play sports are more self-confident,
and they also do better in school. Sports are important to me, both professionally and
personally. Through sports, I’ve had coaches and mentors who have helped lift me up and
achieve success that otherwise would not have been possible. Sports taught me how to work hard. Success
has not necessarily come easy to me. I’ve had to work for it, as all of you have, as
well. As a kid, sports motivated me to work hard academically. And as an adult, I took
what I learned both on and off the field to help me succeed as a professional athlete,
a former member of the Texas House of Representatives, and in my new role and work for the Trump
administration. Not all youth have the same opportunity to
participate in sports in our country. Only 41 percent of youth from low-income households
play sports, compared to 76 percent of youth from high income households. We all have to
do better. That’s why I’m looking forward to working with HHS and the council to implement
the National Youth Sports Strategy and make sure that all kids have safe, fun and inclusive
opportunities to participate in sports of all kinds.
I’m looking forward to meeting you personally very soon and working with you on this very
important initiative.>>Kristina Harder: We are very thrilled to
have Scott join our team and we’re confident that he will play an essential role in promoting
and implementing the National Youth Sports Strategy, in addition to promoting other aspects
of the important work that this council does. Lastly, as a quick update, we’ve recently
undergone some big changes as part of the larger, reimagined HHS initiative. In June,
we officially joined forces with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion,
which now supports the work of the president’s council. The council has historically worked very closely
with ODPHP on initiatives related to physical activity and nutrition, and combining our
efforts provides an opportunity to enhance the work of this council. Now, I would like
to introduce up next Carter Blakey, deputy director of the Office of Disease Prevention
and Health Promotion. Will you welcome her with me? [applause]>>Carter Blakey: Hello, I’m happy to be here
today. As Kristina said — we had Katrina and Kristina, I’m going to get those mixed
up all day. I’m the Deputy Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
and also currently serving as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health for Regional
Operations. So, I’m excited to be part of today’s events.
And I’d like to introduce you to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
and provide a brief overview of the reorganization that resulted in the president’s council moving
to ODPHP. Let me scoot forward. So, first, a little bit about ODPHP. We’ve
been providing leadership in disease prevention and health promotion on behalf of the secretary
of HHS since 1976 when the office was created by Congress. So, we’re part of OASH, the Office
of the Assistant Secretary for Health, led by Admiral Giroir. We work very closely with our other partner
agencies, or sister agencies within OASH. And, in particular, I’d like to mention the
Office of Women’s Health and the Office of Minority Health, whose leaders are both here
today. So, you’ll hear from them a little bit later. We also work with national partners
and stakeholders. For example, we work closely with independent
federal advisory committees who we rely on to review scientific evidence for us. We engage
national stakeholders in both public health and healthcare to ensure that what we produce
is relevant. And then we always work with our agencies within HHS and other departments,
as well, across the federal government to ensure that our programs are consistent with
national policies. So, ODPHP’s mission and portfolio is very
wide. For example, we lead the Healthy People Initiative, which each decade delivers a set
of National Disease Prevention and Health Promotion objectives with ten-year targets
that are intended to improve the health of the nation each decade. We’re currently in our fourth iteration of
that initiative of that with Healthy People 2020, and we’re looking forward to releasing
the fifth generation of Healthy People in March of 2020, so it’ll be Healthy People
2030. So, stay tuned for that. We also manage a National Clinical Care Commission
that is another federal advisory committee that’s developing a report with recommendations
for federal programs related to diabetes. We manage two national action plans aimed
at improving healthcare quality. One is the Prevention of Health Care-Associated Infections
and the other one is looking at adverse drug events. And we encourage consumers and the American
population to adopt healthy lifestyle practices and receive the recommended preventive screenings
and other services through our consumer-facing website called healthfinder.gov, where we
take scientific information, complicated medical information, and put it in a form that we
hope the general population can understand and act on. And all of this is part of our efforts to
improve health literacy of the country. And perhaps some areas that you’re most familiar
with would be our efforts to develop two sets of national guidelines. One is the Dietary
Guideline for Americans that we produce every five years in partnership with USDA to provide
science-based, food-based guidance to encourage Americans to eat well and stay healthy to
prevent chronic diseases. And the other set, of course I hope you know
about, is the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that Admiral Giroir mentioned
earlier. We just last — this year launched our second iteration of those guidelines.
And, again, those are science-based guidelines aimed at improving health through physical
activity. And now, we embrace you all. You all are now
part of our portfolio as the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. So, we’re
really dedicated to ensuring that the work you do is fully supported now by a larger
office. So, I’ll give a little bit of an overview
on this reorganization process that you’ve heard about. So, it was called OASH — not
OASH, but HHS Reimagine. And it identified organizational changes that were intended
to improve HHS’ public health portfolio by making recommendations that would streamline
and strengthen our organizational structure. And a result of that was combining the integration
of the president’s council into ODPHP. And we see this as offering a lot of positive
opportunities. We’ve always worked together with the president’s council with ODPHP providing
the subject matter expertise and the scientific expertise through the Dietary Guidelines for
Americans and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that actually helps the council
do its work to increase sports, physical activity and healthy eating habits. So, again, we want you to know that we’re
dedicated. You now have a staff of about — close to 30 people ready and willing to help you
get your work done. So, welcome to ODPHP. I’ll talk a little bit now about the development
of the National Youth Sports Strategy that you all got to participate in the launch of
this morning. This is really a natural synergy between the
president’s council and ODPHP. And as Kristina mentioned it is and was developed in response
to a presidential executive order. So, about a year ago, ODPHP was asked to take the lead
on the development of the National Youth Sports Strategy. And to get this going, we established
an executive committee that was made up of representatives from the Office of the Assistant
Secretary for Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes
of Health. We also formed a federal steering committee that had much broader representation
from across the Department of Health and Human Services. And then, of course, you all played a big
role by providing your input on the draft strategy. We followed what we call our “tried
and tested model” for developing guidance by seeking input on science from our stakeholders
and from the public. What we did when we first got this assignment was to take a look at
what was going on already in the department to see where we were, what were we benchmarking
our work with, and where did we possibly need to go? What gaps needed to be filled? We conducted a literature review and did an
environmental scan. And when we did that work, we realized that the science that we were
looking at, the research that we found in youth sports was a bit different from what
we would typically find with our other projects. For example, the dietary guidelines of physical
activities, for example, and that there are practitioners in the community that are doing
really good work. But they might not necessarily be the type of folks who would publish in
scientific peer reviewed journals, where we typically go to find some of our data. So, to ensure that we captured all of this
important information, we first put out a call for input on the four pillars of the
executive order. And in response to that, we received well over 100 comments. And to
make sure that we still got the input we needed, we convened a public listening session in
April of 2019, where we heard from 16 organizations that gave us information on all sorts of activities,
including coach recruitment and training, programming, best practices, and perhaps most
importantly, we heard about strategies for engaging and reaching the underserved populations,
which is a priority for us. So, now that we had all of this information
that we had collected, and from different modes, our executive committee got to work.
And they developed the draft strategy that went out for public comment over the summer.
And as a result of that public comment, we had input from members of the public. We had
other federal departments who provided comments. We heard from non-federal organizations. And
of course, we had input from you all when you reviewed the draft report before it went
out for public comment. We also sent the draft report out for peer
review with seven subject matter experts in youth sports and academia. And then the final
step in developing the strategy was to go through what we call “departmental clearance.”
That allows the agencies across HHS to look at the report and ensure that it is consistent
with departmental priorities, and it is aligned, and we’re delivering the same message. We
don’t have one agency saying something while we’re saying something else. So, that was the final step in the development
process. So, with that, I’m going to call Katrina Piercy up to the podium. And I think
some of you met Katrina — I know all of you met Katrina earlier today. Katrina was the
project lead in developing the National Youth Sports Strategy and she’ll provide some details
and key takeaways on the strategy. So, Katrina, the meeting is yours.>>Katrina Piercy: Thanks, Carter. So, I’m
going to dive in a little bit deeper. So, I really appreciate everybody being a part
of the launch this morning. We’ve been talking about it. But let’s talk a little bit about
what’s in it and what we’re doing next. And I think this will help set the stage for the
discussion the councilmembers are going to have this afternoon about how they can really
play a role as we move into the next phase of the implementation of the National Youth
Sports Strategy. So, this basically outlines what I’m going
to talk about. But let me focus first on what are the key pieces to take out of this. So,
to remind you where this all came from, we’ve mentioned before that this project came from
an executive order from the president. And that outlined four key pillars that we were
going to focus on — to increase the awareness of the benefits of youth sports; to promote
private and public sector strategies to increase participation; to develop metrics to gauge
youth sport participation; and finally, to establish a strategy to recruit volunteers
that will be engaged around youth sports from coaching or other areas. And all of this looking at this from the lens
of underserved and populations that really have either lower rates of meeting the physical
activity guidelines, or lower rates of engagement in youth sports. We saw some data earlier
from Admiral Giroir and we know there are tremendous disparities in youth sports participation.
So, we really approached this with a public health lens and thought about how can we do
this to get this information out there and help all kids have this opportunity? So, I should note, if you looked closely at
the pillars out of the executive order, that they do mention the importance of regular
physical activity and the importance of good nutrition. And I have up here on this slide
two of our key pieces from two of our recent policies that Carter mentioned, the physical
activity guidelines for Americans, which we launched last November, and then the dietary
guidelines. You see the “My Plate” icon here. We felt like that we had on the federal government
side, really have covered physical activity and nutrition with those two policies and
their corresponding communications campaign, that being the “Move Your Way,” for the physical
activity guidelines and “Choose My Plate” for the dietary guidelines. So, we made a decision for this youth sports
strategy to really focus on the youth sports piece. So, in the document, we’ve pointed
people to the nutrition and the physical activity policy, and the science base, and to the communications
campaigns for each of them. But we really decided and made a conscious decision to really
focus on youth sports and felt like that this was an important piece to carve out. Not to
say these aren’t important, but they aren’t the focus of the strategy itself. So, you’ve seen this a few times. It’s important
to iterate again here. What we thought about when we put together the National Youth Sports
Strategy was realizing this is the first time that the federal government has set up this
roadmap and written this up. And so, we’re realizing that we’re not going to change this
overnight. The culture in the United States, there’s a lot of things that we can do to
improve things. And we have a long way to go, but really saw our role to kind of unite
everybody around a shared vision. So, hopefully you’ve seen this phrase before, hopefully
you’ll see it again before. But this is kind of our uniting piece that one day, all youth
will have the opportunity, the motivation, the access to play sports regardless of race,
ethnicity, sex, ability or ZIP code. And I think that’s really kind of how we’re
pointing this north star forward of how do we think about the different strategies, think
about the different opportunities that we can really open this up for everybody. So,
how did we do this? As Carter mentioned, our process of how we developed the National Youth
Sports Strategy, we tend to go to the science first. When we’re doing the guidelines itself,
we start there, and realizing that most of this work has been done in communities, is
done in programs already. And there was not a science base, per se,
in the same way that we would look through the peer review literature. But we found our
science base by looking to the communities and to the organizations that already had
tried and tested strategies to increase youth sports participation. And this fits in nicely
with the second pillar of the executive order, of identifying and promoting these strategies
of kind of what works. So, we pulled all of this information together
and then organized it around a framework, and really came down to the message of that
everyone has a role to play around youth sports. And so, we developed this framework based
on the social ecological model starting all the way with kids themselves. So, they have
a role, the parents have a role, anyone who’s interacting with kids, the coaches, the volunteers.
The organizations have a role. Communities have a role. And the public policy level has
a role as well. So, there’s a lot of information up on this
screen. It’s blown up a bit bigger in the actual youth sports strategy. But that was
our way to kind of put all the pieces together. We end up with over 50 strategies of different
things that can be done around youth sports. And these are things that are already being
done in different communities and already out there. This was just our way to organize
it and give people a starting point. So, the next few slides, I’m going to talk
through a few of these strategies for the different levels. So, you can see about where
your opportunities may be. So, let’s talk about kids. Starting at the bottom at the
center — so, things about talking with them about the benefits of playing sports, figuring
out the opportunities. Sometimes it’s just making sure that they’re
aware of, “Hey there’s something that you could sign up after school to do this activity.”
Kids themselves, asking them what they want and asking them to talk to their parents,
you know? Handing them information at school and saying, “Hey, you can sign up for this
program or this league or if you want to stay and do this.” They can help bring that to
their mom and dad or their caregiver and say, “Hey, can I join this? Can I be a part of
this?” The other piece that really came out really
strong when we were pulling together the information was the importance of sports sampling and
physical literacy. What does that mean? Sports sampling is playing a variety of different
sports and activities. Technically, it’s defined as playing more than one activity over a 12-month
time period. So, this is the idea many kids nowadays, you know, eight, nine, 10 years
old are playing one sport year-round, multiple leagues, summer, winter, travel, school, club.
It’s a lot. And so, a lot of the research is coming now is saying, you know, maybe this
isn’t the best thing to keep them in one sport, but trying a variety of different sports and
activities. There’s many different activities that count
for sports that are teams, that are individual things. So, parents and kids themselves can
try different activities to find something that they like, building up that confidence.
And the other benefit of doing lots of different sports is the development of physical literacy
skills. And that’s thinking about how to develop the confidence and the competence to do different
activities, so, how to kick a ball, how to play a certain game. What are the rules of
this? How to cradle a lacrosse ball. I have a three year old at home and I almost
had forgotten that you have to teach these skills. I was teaching them how to jump the
other day. And this is something that kids can learn. And this is a role that they can,
you know, try one activity and learn those skills and then try another activity and learn
that. And these will all help them throughout life. So, adults, all of us here in the room
today have a role, whether you’re a parent, whether you interact with kids in some capacity.
We can get involved. We can be a coach, a volunteer, an official. We can be a role model ourselves, by doing
physical activity ourselves, by inviting it to do it with kids, by just having kids seeing
adults play sports. There’s tons of adult leagues nowadays. And it’s great for kids
to watch adults play and realize, “Hey, they can still enjoy this too.” Making it about
fun — and that’s a key theme that came out multiple times that this should be fun. And
if we’re having fun as adults and we’re showing kids and modeling that, that helps a lot. And finally, promoting learning over competition.
So, again, what did you learn from that game? They might have — it might have been a win,
a loss, it doesn’t matter. But what did you learn? What can you take away? What could
you do differently? Learning a skill, did you figure out how to kick with your other
foot or something like that versus just what is the wins and losses. For organizations, thinking about how to make
programs accessible and inclusive so all youth can participate. There’s often little tweaks
that can be done that make a huge difference. Thinking about coaches and volunteers that
are brought in and that are appropriately trained. Also, we know that coaches and volunteers
that reflect the community demographics do really well. So, think about who’s already
living there that could help be a role model for kids. Again, going to that sports sampling piece,
playing a variety of sports throughout the year. Sometimes it’s the coaches that are
saying, “You need to pick. You need to drive into one.” We want to be encouraging kids
to try multiple activities, especially as they’re young. And then thinking about sports
to build confidence, and as parents, we can help them do that. Encourage them. Make this
a positive piece. At the communities, similar pieces here about
safe and accessibility. So, that’s thinking about how to get to the space itself and then
making sure that it’s a safe place that everybody can be included and be a part of it. Also,
at the community level, thinking about coalitions and how can we combine forces? How can different
organizations within a community, you know, collaborate and work together to advance a
youth sports program? How can we involve business owners and other community groups that could
pull resources together or could share things or maybe can share use of a specific athletic
facility? There’s lots of creative ways, but a lot of
it around collaboration can make a difference. And then finally, thinking about the public
policy, public agenda side of things. And so, this is the piece that, you know, the
federal government’s a part of, that state government, that local government is a part
of. Thinking about things, how to collaborate again, funding, grants. You’re going to hear
from next the Office of Minority Health and the Office on Women’s Health, tremendous work
they’re going to be doing with the YES grants. So, this is a great way to put funds into
populations and into communities that really could use it and start to move the needle. Thinking about spreading the word about the
benefits of youth sports, sometimes just getting that information out there, and then thinking
about policies and different things that can support access and opportunity for all. I
wanted to highlight here, so, it’s a little bit difficult to see on the screen but throughout
the National Youth Sports Strategy, one thing we thought was important was to look at all
of these different strategies. So, I said there’s over 50 in here, but finding some
communities and some organizations that are already doing great work around youth sports. And so, we have six bright spots that are
in the National Youth Sports Strategy. And each of these highlight a different program
that is combining several of these different strategies. And they found a way that it works
for their population. And so, these aren’t an endorsement of, “This is how it should
be done.” But more of, “Here’s an example.” Here’s a creative way that this community
is, you know, reaching girls by having more female coaches. Or a creative way — Saturday
Night Lights, that is bringing kids off the streets on Saturday nights and into a sporting
facility in New York City that is using funds through their judiciary program. So, there’s different ways to think about
how we can get youth sports to the kids. And these are just some different opportunities.
This next slide just highlights the name of them, again, just a snapshot of really what’s
going on. There’s some great work that’s already happening. I think what we can do now is just
continue to get that information out. How can we think about spreading what’s already
happening? So, just flipping gears, so, I’ve talked kind
of big picture, what’s in the strategy itself. If you want more pieces, everything is available
on our website, health.gov. The bright spots, we’re going to be doing a blog on each of
them so we can continue this information. So, if you’re interested in one of the programs,
we have more of the details for what they have done and kind of spotlighting each of
them. There’s also a partner promotion tool kit. This has all of the social media messages
and things to be able to share and get the information out. There’s also a really quick
guide. So, if you want the cliff notes for the National Youth Sports Strategy, the top
10 things to know. It’s a real quick read that’ll give you kind of your quick and dirty,
“What do we need to know about it?” The executive summary, so, a few more pages — and the executive
summary actually has each of the strategies laid out. So, for each of the levels of the
framework, you can read more there, and then also some frequently asked questions to give
you some more background about it. So, shifting gear, a little bit about where
we’re going from the HHS side of implementation and then kind of setting the stage for where
the council members can be involved as we move forward. So, big picture. A lot of pieces
that we’re looking at on the HHS side of how we can engage more around the communication
and the promotion, about measuring youth sports, about partnership and stakeholder engagement,
and then as well federal government coordination. So, a number of pieces that we’ve got on this. So, talking more about the communication.
This is a perfect piece for where the council members can be a part of this and we’ll talk
more this afternoon about how they can engage, how they can help promote their networks and
everyone here today as well. I mentioned the “Move Your Way” communications campaign. And
this is part of what we’ve done with the physical activity guidelines. That’s our piece to help
deliver messages about the importance of physical activity. We’re going to be expanding that to add a
youth sports piece that we’ll be rolling out with National Physical Fitness and Sport Month
next May. But we’ll be adding on a piece to really emphasize how sports can help kids
meet the physical activity guidelines. Measuring youth sports participation, so there’s a lot
of work that’s being done on the federal side and also a lot of work that’s collecting sports
data on the non-federal side. But thinking about how might we be able to standardize
some of it, to think about when we’re restructuring questions, is there ways to be able to ask
the same questions so we can make some comparisons? Also, Carter mentioned our office leads Healthy
People 2030. We have an objective proposed that will track youth sports participation.
And that will kind of help elevate the importance of youth sports within the Healthy People
physical activity objective. Partnership and stakeholder engagement, and this is where
a lot of you in the room and probably watching may be interested in. We’re looking to think
about how we can engage and work more with the organizations and groups that are already
in this space. You’re going to hear later this afternoon
from the National Fitness Foundation and how we can be working with them to advance this
work. Admiral Giroir already talked about the science board so that we will bring in
a group of academics to help provide this translation piece from the work you all are
doing on the council, and also thinking about what other information can we help get out
there. And then finally, how can we think of some creative ways to partner and engage
with other groups? And then lastly, from the federal government
side, as Carter mentioned, our merge with the President’s Council coming in to ODPHP,
that adds more resources and more support for the council. We’re also looking kind of
across HHS of how we can collaborate with other offices across HHS, outside of HHS,
around physical activity and youth sports. And then finally — thinking about lines up
perfectly with the next talk about grants and programs, this project has brought Office
of Minority Health and Office on Women’s Health. We’ve been working more with them and look
forward to more collaboration thinking about what can we learn from these different grantees. And finally, I just want to say a thank you
to everyone who has touched this project. It’s been a fairly quick one that we have
pulled together a lot of pieces. We’ve leaned on a lot of stakeholders, asked a lot of people
for their input through public comments, through peer review, through reading the draft of
it. And just wanted to say a thank you because this has a lot fingerprints on it. And I think
we got to a great starting point and we’re excited to see where we go for implementation.
So, with that, I’m going to introduce our next speakers to talk about the exciting pieces
as part of things. So, Captain Felicia Collins from the Office of Minority Health and Dr.
Dorothy Fink, who will be talking about — excuse me, from the Office on Women’s Health, will
be talking about the Youth Engagement in Sports Initiative. [applause]>>Dorothy Fink: Well, thank you so much,
Katrina. We have really enjoyed hearing from all of you today so far. And we are excited
to talk about our project in the upcoming presentation. And so, on behalf of the Office
of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Captain Collins and I are pleased to be here to announce
our contribution on the president’s plan to support the growth of organized sports for
both girls and boys, particularly in areas where few programs exist. Our program is named “Youth Engagement in
Sports: Collaborations to Improve Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition. It is also
known as the YES Initiative. And we are here to announce the awardees. Before we get to
the awardees, let me give you a brief overview of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for
Health, or OASH, where my office, the Office of Women’s Health, and Captain Collins’ office,
the Office of Minority Health, are located within HHS. Both Dr. Collins and I will provide you a
brief overview of our offices, along with an overview of the YES Initiative. As I just
mentioned, OWH and OMH are part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, led
by Admiral Brett Giroir, whom you heard from earlier today. Admiral Giroir’s vision for
leading America to healthier lives has three pillars, health for all, health by all and
health in all. The first pillar, health for all, is directly
aligned with the activities that support women’s health and the health of racial and ethnic
populations and communities. On the next slide, you’ll see a little bit more about my office,
which was established in 1991 to improve the health of U.S. women by advancing a comprehensive
women’s health agenda. Our vision is for all women and girls to achieve the best possible
health. We provide national leadership and coordinate
to improve the health of women and girls through policy, education and innovative programs.
This slide also highlights various OASH partners that significantly contributed to the development
of our YES Initiative, including the very own President’s Council — thank you all — and
the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and the Office of Minority Health.
As Admiral Giroir stated earlier, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
recently released the second addition of the physical activity guidelines for Americans,
calling for youth to engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. This guideline is a foundational underpinning
of the YES Initiative. Captain Collins’ office, the Office of Minority Health, is our partner
in this project for implementing and monitoring these grants. And now, I’m going to turn it
over to Captain Collins. And I will just say that what I really love about my job here
is that I’m a pediatrician, Captain Collins is a pediatrician. And so, we really love
teaming up and really thinking about how the health of our youth impacts the health of
our entire nation. So, hand it over to you.>>Felicia Collins: Thank you. So, good afternoon,
everyone. Again, my name is Captain Felicia Collins and it is my pleasure to join you
today in support of the National Youth Sports Strategy and the YES Initiative. Let me begin
by briefly telling you a little bit about the Office of Minority Health. Federal efforts
to improve the health status of racial and ethnic minorities date back to at least 1985
with the release of the report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health, also
known as the Heckler Report. This was the first national report on the
status of racial and ethnic minority populations within the United States. A year later, the
Office of Minority Health was established. And our mission is to improve the health of
racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of policies and programs that
eliminate health disparities. I want to echo Dr. Fink’s point about the
importance of partnerships. In a setting of limited resources, it is critical that the
Office of Minority Health partner with other offices within the Office of the Assistant
Secretary for Health and other offices across the Department of Health and Human Services
and across government in general. One of the reasons that we are so excited to be with
you today is related — is because the YES Initiative is emblematic of how cross-collaboration
within the department enhances our development and our implementation of grants and other
activities that support the OASH vision and the pillar of health for all. Another example of a collaboration within
OASH that is particularly relevant to today’s discussion about physical activity is the
active and healthy theme of the Office of Minority Health, which we adopted for the
2019 and 2020 National Minority Health month, which we celebrate April annually. Our focus
is to encourage individuals, children, youth and adults to engage in some type of physical
activity every day, consistent with the physical activity guidelines and the “Move your Way”
campaign, which as we’ve heard, was developed by the OASH Office of Disease Prevention and
Health Promotion. So, OASH believes in data-driven activities.
And so, I want to highlight for you that the YES Initiative is supported by data reported
by the Aspen Institute, which is an organization that seeks to inspire solutions that help
sports serve the public interest. This slide highlights data from the Institute’s 2018
State of Play report. And it shows the impact of in common gender on sports participation.
We’ve seen some data in this regard earlier, but indulge me as I share you the results
of this report. The first two bars on the far left side of
the screen show the impact of income. Thirty-three percent of parents making less than $50,000
a year annually say that youth participation in sports is just too costly. And so, that’s
the blue bar. And that is in comparison to 17 percent of parents making over $50,000
annually, which is the gray bar. If we go to the two bars in the middle, they also speak
to the issue of the impact of income on sports participation. In the blue bar, we see that 75 percent of
children from households with income at 400 percent of the federal poverty level are in
team sports or participate in some type of lesson, while the gray bar depicts that only
42 percent of children from households with 100 percent of the federal poverty level participate
in sports or activities. And then last but certainly not least, the third set of bars
compare sports participation between boys and girls, with 60 percent of boys being engaged
in a sports team or lesson shown by the blue bar compared to 49 percent of girls shown
by the gray bar. So, the YES Initiative that we are so pleased
to be able to discuss today with you seeks to identify best practices for addressing
these income and gender differences in youth sports participation and in support of the
National Youth Sports Strategy. The Office of Minority Health and the Office of Women’s
Health developed the YES Initiative in consultation with you all from the President’s Council,
the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and the Office of Adolescent Health.
Today, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health is investing in our youth by providing
more than $6.7 million in grants for the YES Initiative. We are very excited about providing support
to grantees to develop programs that expose sixth, seventh and eighth graders to a variety
of sports activities. This will include traditional sports such as basketball and softball and
potentially exposure to other types of activities, such as hiking or mountain biking. These grants
will spotlight strategies for reducing barriers to participation in organized sports by promoting
sports clubs and leagues for children and youth, particularly among racial and ethnic
minority communities, girls and for other disadvantaged youth. We anticipate that grantees will include a
variety of partnerships with various local organizations such as community recreation
centers, sports organizations, public health organizations, local schools and higher education
institutions, and tribal organizations, just to mention a few. Through sports participations,
youth — YES grantees will move our youth towards meeting the national physical activity
guidelines that call for youth to engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each
day. Of note, in addition to increasing youth participation
in sports and physical activity, YES grantees also will be promoting healthy eating by encouraging
increased consumption of vegetables and reduced consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
And now, without any further delay, I will ask Dr. Fink to announce the grant recipients.>>Dorothy Fink: Great. Thank you so much,
Captain Collins, and we are really excited to introduce you to the awardees. You can
see the map here, and we will go in alphabetical order. So, first of the — is the Carrie-Steele-Pitts
Home in Atlanta, Georgia. The city of Pine Bluff in Arkansas. Florida introduces physical
activity and nutrition to youth in Fort Lauderdale. Hayward Unified School District in California.
Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club of Saint Louis, Missouri. I Challenge Myself in New
York. Lindsay Unified School District in California. Native American Community Academy Foundation
in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative in Pennsylvania. Rural
America Initiatives in Rapid City, South Dakota. Seattle Children’s Hospital in Washington.
Texas Health Research & Education Institute in Arlington, Texas. The curators of the University
of Missouri, on behalf of the University of Missouri, Kansas City. The Skills Center in
Tampa, Florida. The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Up to Us in New York. The YMCA
of Greater Louisville. Yurok Tribe of Yurok Reservation in Klamath, California. As Captain Collins said, the YES Initiative
projects will develop an implemented sports fitness programs based on accessible evidence-based
practices for youth engagement in result in the identification of model, sustainable strategies
that increase participation in a range of sports and activities that support a healthy
lifestyle and improve overall health. It is a great pleasure for all of us to be a part
of this event and to be contributing to this collaboration. As we look forward to learning
more about our grantees and the next steps in this process, we really want to thank the
committee here, and we’ll say that we really are thankful to have this opportunity to address
these factors that create better health for children throughout America. Thank you very
much. [applause] And then, finally, I’ll just say on the last
slide, if any of you would like to look at our websites, the Office of Minority Health,
the Office of Women’s Health, we have some really great sites, and you can also follow
us on all the social media sites listed here, too. Thank you.>>Chris Bence: All right, good afternoon,
everybody. My name’s Chris Bence; I’m with Special Olympics International, and it’s just
great to be here today to hear about all the work that you’re doing that ties in so perfectly
with all of our health, nutrition, sports work, and inclusive health work that we do
on a daily basis and across the world. So, thank you for having me here today. You know, it’s a great plug earlier about
Unified Sports. One of our great platforms where people with and without disabilities
play sports on the same field together, because that’s actually how myself and Novie here
met. What was it, Novie, about eight years ago? Right here on the sports fields of Washington,
D.C. Novie wrote a very long bio for me to read. Novie — so, I’m only going to read
a couple things I think you’re going to touch on here in a little bit, but Novie is actually,
as of this March, a colleague of mine. She works in the marketing department at Special
Olympics International. Novie plays several sports; I’ll read all
of them here real quick. Bocce, basketball, flag football, tennis, bowling, volleyball,
and track and field. I’m actually her coach, long jump coach, track and field. So, Novie
is very active. You might say, “Hey, she looks kind of familiar; where have I seen her before?”
Last summer, she was actually the face — one of the faces for United Airlines campaign.
So, she was plastered all over the airports around the United States as part of their
“Superheroes” campaign. Novie was also chosen to be on the bocce team
for Special Olympics D.C. at the 2018 USA games in Seattle, Washington, so you might
have seen her on ABC or ESPN last year. She won a gold medal; she’ll tell you all about
that in a second. But, more — most importantly, Novie is one of my best friends. And so, without
Unified Sports, Special Olympics — all the programs that we do together, we would not
have this amazing relationship. [applause]>>Chris Bence: So, thank you for having
us here, and please welcome my colleague, my teammate, and my really good friend, Novie
Craven. [applause]>>Anovia Craven: How are we doing? Good,
good, good. Hello, council members, and thank you for inviting me here today. The work you’re
doing to increase sports participation youth — among youth of all backgrounds, abilities,
and — to promote healthy, active lifestyles is so important. I don’t know where I would
be without sports in my life. I was born premature. I have cerebral palsy, serious food allergies,
and asthma. I’m also very ADHD. I spent the first 22 years of my life in Howard
University Hospital. When I was three years old, my mother started getting me involved
with sports and dance programs in the recreation department near where I lived. I was receiving
a lot of physical and occupational therapy, and she thought this would help me make progress
and would be a way to meet friends and burn off some energy. She wanted me to have opportunity
to be around kids who did not have a disability. The first sport I remember doing was basketball,
and today, in Special Olympics, that’s still my favorite sport. I did every sport available
but tackle football; that was only because my mom refused to let me play tackle football.
However, she let me play flag football. I remember, I got so strong from doing all my
different sports that I busted right out of my knee-high leg braces, and the doctors and
the P.T.s were amazed at how much progress I had made. Sports also helped me to learn to focus and
give me a place to appropriately get out my extra energy. Sports gave me something to
look forward to after school. Sports gave me a place to learn appropriate social skills
from other kids my age. I play sports because I have a competitive nature, and I’m very
social. Sports gave me a place to channel my energy and be free from people telling
me to sit still. When I play sports, it helps me with my focus. I enjoy the teamwork and
building relationships both on and off the field. As a child, I struggled with learning
disabilities, and school was very hard for me. I went to school exclusively for kids
with learning challenges and other disabilities. Sports were [unintelligible] for me because
one of the things I wanted most was to be like other kids my age. Sports gave me a place
to feel good about myself. Sports also gave me valuable mentors in my life. I grew up
in Takoma, D.C., and I’ve been raised by a single mom. Sports gave me positive role models.
One of those was Steve Francis, a former UMD star and NBA star who grew up close by. He
gave funds so the basketball league could be affordable to everyone, and his — and
his friends were the coach and were mentors in the — in the YES Youth Exposed to Success
League. I was the only girl who played in that league,
and I was smaller than anyone, but that didn’t stop me from participating. I felt so included
and one several awards while playing in the YES League. The other really positive experience
I had as a middle schooler was with the 4D Police and Boys Girls Club. There, I had police
officers who mentored me, helped me with my homework, and coached us in football, cheerleading,
basketball, and baseball. I still see some of the police officers and kids I played sports
with who are now grown up and working jobs such as metro bus drivers and aids people
with disabilities. I always knew that the police in my neighborhood were caring people
because of the relationships I had with them when they coached me in my sports. Today, sports are still — are still a huge
part of my life. After graduating from high school, I found it hard to meet people who
were like me and get exercise. I was sad and felt alone. My family and friends suggested
I contact Special Olympics. I still remember going to my first sport, which was unified
bocce. I felt so welcomed, even though I didn’t know anyone or anything about bocce. One of the things I love best about Special
Olympics Unified Sports is that we come together as one, and athletes who have challenges work
and socialize with partners who do not, and we learn to help each other. I now play seven
sports with Special Olympics D.C. In summer of 2018, I was invited to Seattle, Washington,
to compete in the Special Olympics national games in, guess what? Bocce. I brought home
gold and bronze medal, and a fourth-place — [applause]>>Anovia Craven: I also brought home a fourth-place
ribbon. My favorite sport in Special Olympics, however, is still basketball. For the last
two years, my unified basketball team has won the gold medal. I’m also — I am one of
the 200 trained health messengers for Special Olympics. I promote health and inspire others
to be fit and healthy. 10 years later, through Special Olympics, I’ve met valuable friends
and mentors; I’ve learned new skills, and Special Olympics has even turned into a career
for me. I am passionate about sports and Special Olympics and want to help get the message
out to more people with intellectual differences that Special Olympics is a free program where
they can — where they can play sports and work on staying healthy. I am here today speaking for you because of
sports. I believe that all children deserve low-cost or free opportunities to play sports.
We need more funding for programs like Special Olympics, the Boys & Girls Club, and recreation
departments. Everyone cannot afford — everyone cannot afford elite sports and teams and AAU
fees. We need more opportunity for kids to get exercise, learn to eat healthy, and have
a healthier lifestyle, more sports to promote peace and social justice. Sports saved me
and everyone deserves to play sports. Thank you for inviting me here today to share my
story. I hope I — I hope it changed your ideas of what people with intellectual differences
can do. [applause]>>Female Speaker: All right, how’s that for
inspiration? Now, we’re going to take a short break. Our break will last for 15 minutes.
Please remain seated as the council members exit the Great Hall.>>Female Speaker: Produced by the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services at taxpayer expense. [end of transcript]

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