Austin Foundation's MISSION is to transform lives, through education, positive mentors and providing accessible, safe, interactive opportunities for young people to experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Today's youth face serious challenges to their basic health and well being. Our youth are eating worse and exercising less, often as a result of factors out of their control. A growing number of youth confront serious health issues such as stress, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and violence. These health problems carry lasting implications and if left unchecked can severely affect a child's long-term quality of life.
Local schools are increasingly being forced to reduce or cut physical education programs altogether and scale back school lunch programs. The health crisis affects youth in low income communities the most. 20% of African American, Hispanic, and Native American children ages 6-19 are considered overweight, well above the national average. Youth in these communities have limited access to healthy foods and safe places to engage in physical activity. Making matters worse, a growing number of young people face violence or the threat of violence in their daily lives.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "the major barriers most people face when trying to increase physical activity are time, access to convenient facilities, and safe environments in which to be active."
The Austin Foundation provides free fitness and nutrition education for thousands of Seattle/King County area young people ages 5 to 25 each year. The Austin Foundation hosts a wide variety of fitness and youth development programs at sites around the city, each of which is tailored to help young people develop physically, socially, emotionally and mentally. The Austin Foundation bridges racial and socioeconomic inequities in health, providing young people the tools and inspiration to live a healthy, active lifestyle.
While many youth organizations focus on team athletics, the Austin Foundation mentors and educates youth in cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility, strength training and eating a healthier diet. This model allows each participant "client" to undergo a positive physical transformation that can carry over into other areas of his or her life. By focusing on individual fitness, each child develops a sustainable set of skills and motivation to live a healthy for life.
Young people exit our programs as FIT citizens of the world, and many find the transformation in themselves so inspiring that they become passionate advocates for youth fitness education and equality. Ultimately, the Austin Foundation educates and empowers new generations of young leaders.