LAUSD schools get new gyms through UCLA Health's 'Sound Body Sound Mind' program

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Angel Mojica and Nacira Georgana love coming early to the Alfonso B. Perez Career and Transition Center, where they're enjoying the benefits of a brand new gym.

"You get to exercise, stay healthy and get ready for the day," Mojica said, who is a student in Los Angeles.

This particular school helps students with special needs learn independent living and job training skills.

The new workout center is not only for students, but also staff and community. Principal Michael Terry is a poster child of the program's success.

He's lost 51 pounds since they put the gym in.

"I weighed about 252 pounds at the time and became very, very much excited about having the program here, working out with the kids, working out by myself," Terry said.

The concept, created by UCLA Health, is called "Sound Body Sound Mind."

This program has helped 105 schools, which reaches about 100,000 students a year, and it is especially important at Alfonso B. Perez Career and Transition Center.

"We can install adaptive fitness equipment that will meet the need of all the students here," said Sound Body Sound Mind's Executive Advisor Melanie Gideon.

Gideon said through a grant program, the organization awards 10 LAUSD schools a year a new $50,000 fitness center.

They also approve smaller grants for those who've had their sound body sound mind gym for a while and need a bit of a face lift.

"Some of the schools need maintenance, they want more technology to introduce new types of fitness," Gideon said.

L.A. County Public Health said 42 percent of children are obese or overweight. Eighty five percent of the schools participating in the program are located in low-income areas where safe fitness is needed.
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