The Cowtown C.A.L.F. Program believes a fit and active child will adopt healthy lifelong habits.
The C.A.L.F. funds educational initiatives and provides resources that support our healthy mission.
This past year The C.A.L.F. Program distributed 5,000 financial grants and 5,000 running shoes to youth in need.
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FACTS ABOUT C.A.L.F. (Children’s Activities for Life and Fitness)
NEED: One in three Texas children are overweight or obese. These children have a greater than 2/3 chance of remaining obese at age 35, resulting in lifelong health and productivity issues. Some even say the current generation will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Today’s obese children are poised to triple the current obesity rate by 2040.
PURPOSE: The Cowtown C.A.L.F. Program is the nationally recognized charity beneficiary of The Cowtown Marathon, North Texas’ largest multi-race running event. Its goal is to educate young people on the importance of exercise and proper nutrition to stop the cycle of obesity. The C.A.L.F. Program targets elementary, middle and high school students in 15 surrounding school districts and community centers.
PROGRAM: The Cowtown staff contacts area community centers and over 400 schools offering free visits to promote participation in C.A.L.F. Visits are made before or after school, during physical education class or during running club time. The staff and volunteers work directly with the children on stretching, warm-up and cool-down, healthy eating and running technique. The children are also taught how to take their resting heart rate so they can understand how important being fit is. To track their progress, the children are given pedometers and goal-oriented training logs with a sticker reward system. The training log keeps track of the miles the children walk/run, as well as their heart rate throughout each exercise session. The children are encouraged to apply what they have learned by participating in the fall 5K or 1 -mile C.A.L.F. Run and in the winter at The Cowtown Cook Children’s 5K Run in February.
BENEFITS: No child is excluded from the races due to economic hardship. Financial grants are provided to qualifying children from low-income households to offset the cost of entry frees into the Cowtown-sponsored running events. In addition, students receiving financial grants are also sized and fitted with new running shoes. When the shoes are fitted, children are shown the correct way to lace them to help prevent blisters while running. Ultimately, by providing these tools, C.A.L.F. wants the children’s experience in healthy choices to result in positive, rewarding outcomes that continue into adulthood.
IMPACT: The C.A.L.F. Program impacts some 18,000 youth in the community by educating them on the importance of eating healthy and staying fit. By reaching out to children and teaching them these important lessons, C.A.L.F. also impacts their families’ lifestyle as well. Many parents of children participating in C.A.L.F. now join in and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
GOVERNANCE: The C.A.L.F. Council, created to give guidance and expertise to grow and enhance the program, comprises P.E. teachers, runners, marketing professionals, an attorney, a doctor and a nutritionist. It meets at least quarterly to plan and organize C.A.L.F. strategies. The Council and The Cowtown Board of Directors monitor the program to help make it successful.
RESULTS: The program has grown from distributing $3,500 in monetary grants and 100 pairs of running shoes in 2006 to over $ 42,400 in monetary grants and 5,300 pairs of shoes in 2016. In 2011 the C.A.L.F. Run was named Top Children’s Race in the United States by Running USA.