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Young children should not use time off from school as an excuse to be inactive, both physically and mentally. Studies have shown that children who continue to read during the summer perform better academically in the fall and the same reasoning can be applied for any period of time off throughout the school year. It is also important for children to be physically active as part of a healthy life-style. To encourage children to exercise both their mind and body during the summer months, I have established the Total Fitness Challenge.

 The Total Fitness Challenge is open to all students from kindergarten through eighth grade. Each child must read at least 30 minutes every day and perform as many physical activities as they want. The different physical activities are assigned varying point values, which count toward each student’s total score. A Total Fitness medal will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place top scorers from each grade among the island-wide entries. A trophy will be given to the school having the most points and participants in the challenge.

Mark the calendar for each day in July and August that you and your child read together and exercise. If the child reads each day for 30 minutes, he or she will check that day. For each day the child exercises, they will mark the coordinating letter(s) for the activity or activities performed from the list. We also ask that parents initial each day’s entry and total up all points for activities done. At the end of the summer, the completed calendars should be returned to my district office at 1911 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314. I will provide each participant with a Total Fitness Challenge Certificate.

     We partner with local organizations and community members to provide a whole fitness program encompassing the mind and the body! Check out these local groups for special promotions for participants throughout the summer. The YMCA has the Strong Kids program, the JCC the Physical Activity Club for youths on Staten Island and Dragon Kim’s Karate USA. When signing up please bring a copy of your Total Fitness brochure. Don’t forget, another good source for reading materials is your local public library. I’ve also listed a series of physical activities as suggestions for your child to perform. Thank you and have fun!


Michael J. Cusick
Member of Assembly