By Akasha Di Tomasso
On Thursday, September 26th, the MLSE Shape Up program launched its fourth season to a school-wide assembly at St. Leo Catholic School in Etobicoke. The MLSE Shape Up program is a FREE, online DPA (Daily Physical Activity) and H&PE (Health & Physical Activity) resource for teachers – providing tools they need to help get their students active.
As a part of the program, Shape Up visits schools throughout the year, bringing the excitement and spirit of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies, and Toronto FC to the classroom in hopes of building interest in physical activity. For Shape Up’s fourth season, the program launched at St. Leo’s with some very special guests from all four teams.
For Toronto Maple Leafs Forward Dave Bolland, this school visit was particularly unique – it was a homecoming. Bolland grew up in Mimico, Toronto and attended St. Leo’s Catholic School as a child.
“School to me was always fun but when it was gym time I was always pumped up,” says Bolland, “I never thought about it at the time but being active and staying active were such an important part of my life. I think a lot of kids sit at home playing video games instead of being active out of doors. When I was a kid growing up around here we were always doing something outside, ball hockey or lacrosse and we’d play until we’d drop. I’m not sure there’s that same level of activity for most kids today.”
Students at St. Leo’s also had the opportunity to hear insight from the experts, including Toronto Maple Leafs Trainer Anthony Belza, Toronto Raptors Alumni Jamaal Magloire and Trainer Jon Lee, Toronto Marlies Forward Greg McKegg and Strength Coach Mark Fitzgerald, and Toronto FC Defenseman Ryan Richter and Assistant Athletic Therapist Shawn Jeffers.
The purpose of the program is to teach students the importance of participating in physical activity and healthy living. The school-wide assembly at St. Leo’s engaged students with exciting demonstrations, exercises and tips to help teachers and their students maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
“It’s really important for students to stay active, stay fit, and nowadays children are a lot more indoors then outside,” says St. Leo’s teacher Lily Hordienko, “so I think it’s really great for them to see the athletes coming in to tell them about it.”
For more information or to register as a teacher for the MLSE Shape Up Program visit www.mlseshapeup.com .