Special Olympics Georgia Receives Grant From The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation To Boost Athletes' Healthy Lifestyles

Jul 06, 2012, 11:11 ET from Special Olympics Georgia

ATLANTA, July 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Special Olympics Georgia received a $5,000 grant from The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Atlanta Falcons and affiliated fund of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.

The grant supports a new Special Olympics Georgia initiative, the Fitness and Nutrition (FAN) program, which combines sports aptitude testing with nutrition education to kickstart healthy lifestyles for school-aged athletes and families. As the program continues, SOGA plans to train and use FAN kits in metro Atlanta and beyond in order to measure more athletes' physical fitness levels as they enter Special Olympics. Ultimately, the computerized assessments of fitness could also serve as marks of improvement as athletes continue competition and learning new sports.

This new program combats a problem that families of people with intellectual disabilities face in direct correlation between athlete sports performance and their health. In a Teaching Exceptional Children study, researchers stated individuals with intellectual disabilities are more likely to develop a sedentary lifestyle, yet this population has the same fitness needs and capabilities as others without intellectual disabilities. Physical activity not only improves the health of an athlete but also increases the probability they will be successful in other aspects of their lives.

"We at Special Olympics Georgia are so excited and honored to have received this recent grant from the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation. Our partnership is a great fit as both organizations are strong believers in improved fitness and better nutrition for all youth. Special Olympics will continue our evaluation of youth fitness and will also continue educating youth about the importance of lifelong fitness and wellness," said Georgia Milton-Sheats, Special Olympics Georgia CEO.

The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation (AFYF) was established in 1985 to serve as the philanthropic arm of the Atlanta Falcons. Since Arthur Blank acquired the Atlanta Falcons in 2002, AFYF has grown to be the largest owner-funded foundation in the National Football League, providing more than $18 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the state of Georgia.

Investing across Georgia, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation seeks to reduce childhood obesity and improve youth fitness. Working closely with the NFL Play 60 campaign, Let's Move, and national organizers such as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and PreventObesity.net, AFYF makes grants to increase the time kids spend in physical activity and increase access to healthy, affordable food.





SOURCE Special Olympics Georgia