KathleenTullie BOKS 250Kathleen Tullie, CEO of HOST member BOKS (Build Our Kids' Success), recently gave a TEDx talk on the "pandemic" of physical inactivity.

In her talk, Tullie explains how "physical activity has been engineered out of our everyday lives" to become "the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality," killing more people than smoking. "Our children may have a shorter life expectancy than we do," she says.

Knowing there is scientific evidence showing that physical activity contributes to health and confidence and helps combat obesity, depression, and anxiety, she decided in 2009 to make a difference. She gathered parent volunteers and approached their local school principal and superintendent, asking for permission to run a before-school physical activity program. Initially, 80 kids signed up. Soon, Tullie was getting e-mails from parents and teachers about how excited kids were to go to school and how they were sleeping better and more focused in class.

Word of the program spread and other communities reached out for copies of their curriculum. She realized they needed a curriculum that allowed parents and teachers to be part of solution. Fast forward and BOKS is now in 2,230 schools, with hard evidence (like this 2014 NIOST study) of its success.

Tullie asserts that "It doesn't take somebody who is a superhero" to make a positive difference in kids' physical activity. Indeed, the idea of super athletes has helped create a "culture of spectators." We need to turn this into a "culture of participants," starting with our youth, says Tullie, explaining that we need to "give them the opportunities to move" and "revolutionize our kids' lives."

Watch her below.


    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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