Students and Families Awarded Local Gym Memberships

By: Megan Seals, Communications Coordinator, Jackson Chamber on Jul 01, 2014


Students and Families Awarded Local Gym Memberships

One-Year Gym Memberships Provided By ThreeStar Program

     The Jackson Chamber has announced that 15 students in the Jackson-Madison County School System have been awarded a one-year family membership to a local fitness facility. These gym memberships were awarded to the students and their families through the State of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s ThreeStar program. The two participating gym facilities in the program are Gold’s Gym and the LIFT Wellness Center.

      Through this grant, the students and their family members will be able to participate in one-year memberships, many of whom may otherwise have not been able to take advantage of a local fitness facility. Some of the most important aspects of a community’s future are the wellness and healthy habits of its people, particularly the youth. The Jackson-Madison County School System has already made many improvements in this area, such as removing sodas and unhealthy vending from schools and replacing them with healthy options. They have also worked to provide medical professionals in the schools that will serve the students, faculty and staff.

     "This is an exciting opportunity for the students and their families,” said Annette Wilson, Coordinated School Health Administrator, Jackson-Madison County School System. “Exercise introduces children to the importance of a healthy lifestyle and when families exercise together this helps to reinforce healthy habits. We are very fortunate to live in a community where health is a priority and is embraced as a positive initiative."

     In Madison County, 44 percent of students in the school system are considered overweight or obese. To help reduce this number, the Jackson Chamber chose to partner with the public schools from the Jackson-Madison County School System and local gym facilities to help remove these barriers for students and allow them to take advantage of a local fitness facility.

    “We were thrilled to be part of the three star program when contacted about it,” said Steve Roten, Owner/Operator, Gold’s Gym. “I applaud the Jackson Chamber for initiating this program. Anything that brings the importance of fitness in young people is so important today. Obesity is a problem with today's youth population and right here in West Tennessee. Gold's Gym is proud to partner in this endeavor today and in the future.”

     The Jackson Chamber worked through middle school gym teachers and school counselors to identify students who would most benefit from the program. Through the program, 15 students (and up to 45 people total) were given an opportunity for the free membership. The grant covered a family membership, versus a student membership, because many fitness facilities require a parent or guardian to supervise a child at a facility. Secondly, they also recognized that behaviors that encourage healthy living are learned and modeled by family members.

Other details of the grant are listed below:

  • All public school seventh grade students were eligible. Fifteen students were selected by the lottery.
  • Fitness facilities had to be located on the Jackson Transit Authority bus route.
  •  Fitness facilities had to agree to a one-year membership for selected students and any family member or guardian residing in the home (scholarship is good for the student, and up to two other residing in the home, one of which must be an adult).  

      The ThreeStar program is geared to assist community development efforts and ensure individuals can compete at a higher level through enhancing and improving community assets. The program is designed to focus on certain areas, identified as critical to ensuring the success of Tennessee communities. These areas are: jobs & economic development; fiscal strength & efficient government; public safety; education & workforce development; and health & welfare. Participation in the ThreeStar program is based on an annual evaluation and activity plan.

      “Being certified as a ThreeStar community is important because it shows that not only are we excelling in many areas, but that we are also preparing for the future with regards to economic development” said Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris. “We are grateful for this designation and for the grant dollars that were received.”

     Through the Jackson Chamber’s Forward Jackson campaign, the chamber has focused on health and wellness as one of its key initiatives. The Forward Jackson campaign is a $3.8 million, five-year economic development capital campaign funded by local investors and focused on four initiatives: regional and local economic development, education, wellness and public safety.

      “We are striving hard to make Jackson a healthier community not just for adults, but even for our students,” said Kyle Spurgeon, President/CEO, Jackson Chamber. “We are excited to be able to provide these students and their families with an opportunity to be active and healthy within our community.”



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