Program Participant Turned Peer Assistant Coach Leads by Example

IMG_0333.JPGOn a recent trip to the doctor’s office, Maria, a fifth grade soccer player at Prieto Elementary, received some surprising news. Though many would prefer to avoid surprises in this particular setting, for Maria, it was nothing but positive. She recalled that her doctor was, "surprised because I used to weigh a lot when I was a little girl and they told me that I lost fifteen pounds." To make matters even better, she was also told that she now had a healthy BMI. When asked what her secret was, she responded with, "exercising and eating better at home and school."

After joining the Urban Initiatives team as a fourth grader, Maria quickly realized the benefits of adopting healthier habits. She recalls when her dad started cooking the healthy recipes which she received at practice; her family liked them so much that they "kept asking for more." When she wasn’t at practice, Maria would go in her backyard to play soccer with her cousin and younger sister (both are now in the program as well). After last year’s season ended, Maria knew that she "didn’t want to quit soccer." She came back to the team as an assistant coach and continues to lead by example.

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