For some, fitness is about conquering personal goals, for one Corpus Christi man, it is a catalyst to change an entire community. For Victor Betancourt, there has always been a vision to create a tide of change within the Corpus Christi community. He has made it a personal goal to share a role in shifting our national rank as among the unhealthiest cities in the Nation. As a personal trainer for over 16 years, Victor is constantly turning his pursuits to educating and inspiring the community around him. When opening V-Fit personal training in 2010, one of the first projects Victor launched was the V-Fit Challenge- partnering with influential city leaders, along with members of their staff, to take on personal fitness and health challenges to serve as models within our community of the profound effect fitness and nutrition can have. The Challenge flourished, and city leaders from Mayors to school superintendents, health care system executives and local TV personalities were motivated to take their testimonies and the impetus to bring health and fitness to their workplace!
Following the Challenge success, V-Fit set its sights on the community leaders of the future. Partnering with the Boys and Girls Club, their first endeavor was a joint effort in putting on a Boys and Girls Club 5K race. Through the brainstorming that ensued, a new program was developed to serve the youngest members of the Corpus Christi community, and Kids Get Fit was born. Originally the trainers of V-Fit personally volunteered and funded the enterprise, raising additional funds through donations. Recently, Kids Get Fit was established as an official 501 c(3) non-profit organization, and full multi-phase program is now in full swing. The target group is underprivileged youth who are most at risk for diabetes and obesity.
Phase I is providing Fitness training and nutritional education 4 days per week at the Boys and Girls Club- there are a total of 120 participants ranging from age 7-17. The fitness program offers a variety of fitness skillsets from general fitness to Zumba and meditative yoga, and a running club. Additionally the program offers an educational nutrition program through licensed registered dietitian Kayla Butts to teach both kids and perhaps, most importantly, parents, about food and lifestyle choices.
Phase II is the start of a clinical trial of 20 at risk children monitored by Driscoll Children’s Hospital physicians. Each child’s progress will be tracked through routine clinical lab data to establish a pattern of improved metabolic function and overall health. This phase is perhaps the most exciting for all involved in Kids Get Fit; “We KNOW it works,” says Victor. “We have seen it working in youth and adults alike, and by partnering with Driscoll for the clinical trial, our goal is to obtain the tangible clinical proof thru clinical studies and get results published, making the program a model for greater expansion in public youth programs.”
Phase III, will be the broadest, and Kids Get Fit is preparing their model to be the rollout program for public schools and community after school programs.
Kayla Butts is the Licensed Registered Dietitian on staff for the program, and her role is vital in the realm of educating both kids and parents on the importance of nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. “Within Corpus Christi there is a chance for a huge opportunity for someone in my position to make a real impact. A lot of the early education is in dispelling food myths, which are very prevalent in South Texas culture.” Kayla’s role is as an educator, teaching classes for kids ranging from age 7-12, with parental involvement. The classes are geared to be fun and interactive, built on science, the human body, and the vital role that the right foods can play in health and healing. Side by side parental involvement is vital, as they hold the key to providing the healthy choice foods that will keep each child on the road to success.
Those who wish to donate go to www.kidsgetfit.net or volunteer and learn more about the program, please call 361-442-4081.