Kids of Steel program teaches Shaler children to get fit
After finishing the 2013 Kids Marathon Downtown with his son, Brian Opiela decided to bring a program to Shaler Area Elementary School that would provide more families with the same opportunity.
This is the first year Shaler Area Elementary School is participating in the Kids of Steel youth fitness and nutrition program, which encourages students in kindergarten through sixth grade to try new healthy foods while completing 26.2 miles in 18 weeks, with the final 1.2 miles being the Toyota of Pittsburgh Kids Marathon on May 3.
“The goal is really to instill these lifelong healthy habits in kids.” said Michele Nichols, Kids of Steel program coordinator. “We wanted to teach the kids how to be healthy, and we have seen it affect the entire family.”
More than 100 students signed up through Shaler Area's Kids of Steel program, making their participation level into the top five for first-year schools, according to Kids of Steel program organizers.
Cosponsors Brian and Amy Opiela have met with students in the program through 12 one-hour training sessions during which students learn about healthy eating habits, proper stretches and running form as well as participate in practice runs and athletic games.
“We do fun activities and get a chance to run and learn to stretch our body and pace yourself,” said Luke Warren, a fifth-grader, who used what he learned during the Kids of Steel program to help him come in second in the Run for the Titan Trail 5K run on April 12 with a time of 22:14.
“I paced myself so I didn't burn up all my energy and breathed in and breathed out.”
Shaler Area students will join 3,800 students from 80 Kids of Steel participating schools at the May 3 race. A total of 4,500 children are registered for the Kids Marathon.
The 1.2-mile course will start at PNC Park in the North Side and end on the Boulevard of the Allies, just past Stanwix Street.
“I think it's going to be really fun to run in the city and see all the buildings,” said Jillian Sullivan, a fifth-grader who will run the Kids Marathon with her father. “I think it will be a good opportunity to see the city up close.”
Amy Opiela said the program has succeeded because of the support of the school district administration, teachers and parents.
“I think it brings a new energy to the school,” Amy Opiela said. “Everyone is excited about race day and excited about doing something together on race day.”
Brian and Amy Opiela will run the Kids Marathon with three of their children: fourth-grader Mady Kramer, third-grader Ethan, and kindergartner Andrew.
“You don't need to be fastest or slowest, you just have to be you,” said Brian Opiela of the program. “The kids are having fun, as you can see from the smiles on their faces. I can't wait to see them on May 3.”
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Pippin’ presents challenge to Pine-Richland students
- Pine recognized for conservation efforts
- ‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’ gives Hampton native opportunity to shine
- Business as usual despite Perry Highway work
- Honorary society for math coming to Shaler Area
- Pine-Richland eighth-grader earns Eagle Scout award
- Pine-Richland hires technology director