OXNARD, CA, June 26, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Two soccer-loving teens who help promote fitness at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme (BGCOP) have been selected to serve as official U.S. Flag Bearers during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. After winning a local essay contest sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, Alberto Lemus and John Heath, both 16 and from Oxnard, will have the experience of a lifetime representing the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and the United States at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil June 23-27.
"Alberto and John are role models for their work in our Triple Play program, educating their peers on basic nutritional values, promoting a positive self-image within the Club and bringing together the community for important events," said Tim Blaylock, BGCOP chief professional officer. "Representing our country at the 2014 FIFA World Cup is a great honor for these two teens and our Club."
The teens, both longtime club members from humble, hard-working families, wrote a joint essay about their leadership roles in the Club's Triple Play program. Triple Play is a health and wellness program that strives to improve the overall health of Club members ages 6-18 by increasing their daily physical activity, teaching them good nutrition and helping them develop healthy relationships. As part of the program, Lemus and Heath introduced soccer, handball and weekly Triple Play fitness challenges to previously incarcerated youth; made significant changes in the way BGCOP implements its Healthy Habits Program; helped plan and implement a Bone Marrow Drive in partnership with BE the Match Foundation; and hosted the "Give a Smile" event, in which they partnered with local dentists and Universal Pictures to provide overall hygiene essential bags for more than 250 local homeless families.
The Coca-Cola Company, founding partner of the Triple Play program, will cover all trip expenses and will provide Lemus and Heath tours of the Brazilian cities Recife and Olinda. The Club youth will also be given official 2014 FIFA World Cup flag bearer uniforms, Coca-Cola leisure uniforms, an official game picture, as well as a SONY Xperia smartphone.
John Heath is a junior at Pacifica High School in Oxnard, Calif. Soccer has been a huge part of Heath's life, having played in AYSO leagues, in school and at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme, where he has been a member for nearly 10 years. He plans to become a doctor of sports medicine so he can treat professional soccer players' injuries. Heath plans to attend UCLA for his undergraduate degree. He is currently ranked third in his class and is en route to achieving this goal.
Alberto Lemus is a junior at Channel Islands High School, in Oxnard, Calif. Soccer is embedded not only in Lemus' life but in that of his entire family. Lemus and his father have always dreamed of going to the World Cup. Lemus played soccer briefly at his high school, but most of his soccer experience has been playing recreationally with family, friends and at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme, where he has been a member for seven years. In addition to playing soccer, he is also an excellent dancer, favoring many forms of Latin dance such as Bachata and Salsa.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme exists to inspire and enable all young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. With three full-service clubs, 13 school program sites and one housing site, the organization is one of the largest of its kind in California, serving more than 9,000 members annually. The group is also the first Boys & Girls Club of its kind to open a site inside a Juvenile Justice Center in the state of California. Program areas offered to youth include character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, technology and sports, fitness and recreation. Visit http://www.positiveplace4kids.org, for more information.
Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul
Triple Play, a healthy lifestyles game plan for the mind, body and soul, was launched in 2005 by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services with support from The Coca-Cola Company. The goal of Triple Play is to encourage kids to eat healthier, become more physically active and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships. A two-year study of more than 2,000 children ages 9-14 showed that Triple Play succeeded in getting them to exercise more, eat healthier foods and feel better about themselves. The study found that Triple Play kids increased to 90 percent of the federally recommended amount of daily exercise, which is 60 minutes a day for children, while their peers outside the program decreased to 78 percent. Triple Play includes five program components, each of which serves between 20,000 and 500,000 youth annually. Since its inception in 2005, Triple Play has made more than 9.2 million connections with kids across the country. In 2011, the WellPoint Foundation joined BGCA and Coca-Cola as a Triple Play sponsor. Learn more about the program at http://www.bgca.org/tripleplay.
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