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- Operation: Fresno Shape Up Promotes Healthy Living to Valley Youth!

United Way of Fresno County, in partnership with Fresno State Athletics and former NFL star, Lorenzo Neal, brought the 2nd annual Operation: Fresno Shape Up event to Fresno State ’s Warmerdam Field on Saturday, September 22nd. Over 150 kids, ages 6-14, participated in this fun day full of healthy activity and exercise! The goal of Operation: Fresno Shape Up is for each child and family to learn how to implement healthy habits in everyday life.  

The day started off bright and early at 8 a.m. with a free breakfast of grapes, peaches, plums, protein bars, yogurt, pistachios and water. All fruits and water were generously donated by local farms and businesses here in the Valley, including: Simonian Fruit Company, Trinity Fruit Sales, American Pistachio Growers, Fowler Packing Company, California Grape & Tree Fruit League, the Mexican Consulate and the Community Food Bank. After breakfast, Lorenzo Neal kicked off teh event by introducing the mission of Operation: Fresno Shape Up.  


Neal brought along some of his pro athlete friends, including Charlie Jones, a former NFL player with the San Diego Chargers, and Bobby Jones, a former MLB player with the New York Mets. Various Fresno State Athletic teams were also on hand to teach the kids the importance of leading an active lifestyle. All of the athletes mentioned how participating in sports instilled motivation and responsibility at a young age for them.

The teams that came out in full force included men’s basketball, men’s rugby, women’s swim team, and track & field. Fresno State ’s Timeout and George of Children’s Hospital Central California even made an appearance, much to the delight of the children who chased after the two mascots for hugs and high fives. All of the athletes and trainers came with an enthusiastic and positive attitude that definitely left an impression on these young minds!


The full days’ events included stretching exercises, drills and various activities all designed to stretch the kids’ growing limbs and work their muscles. Jeremy Richter of Weight Away and Rhonda Murphy of Rhonda's Fitness led the team of personal trainers and the Fresno State athletes. The kids were divided into different age groups to do a variety of activities. Angie Neathery of Fresno State led Zumba exercises for the kids, which was a huge hit! From the looks of things, the kids got a fantastic workout and most importantly, had FUN doing so!

A free lunch was provided for all the kids, parents, volunteers and participants that came out. The day wrapped up with a great lesson in ways to eat nutritious meals from Fresno State Dietetic Interns. We’d like to extend a big THANK YOU to everyone who played a role in making Operation: Fresno Shape Up a success!! Your enthusiasm and positive spirit definitely made an impact on the children - and will hopefully empower them to lead active lifestyles.


To view even more photos for this fantastic event, please view our Operation: Fresno Shape Up album. Check out our YouTube page to view video!


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