United Way Fit Kids Success Story
Parker is a Fit Kid from YMCA Superior California


Parker was a serious basketball fan. At just 8 years old, he saw the Sacramento Kings in the newspaper and started looking up their scores after the games. Soon he had the basketball bug and wanted to learn to play.

Parker joined YMCA Superior California’s after-school program, which is funded by United Way’s Fit Kids project, and learned a hard lesson: It’s hard to get the ball in the basket. Fortunately, a staff member encouraged him to keep practicing.

“She told me it’s important to have good sportsmanship because it’s fun and good for you,” Parker said.

The following week Parker was showing off his skills that he had practiced at recess all week. Parker could dribble and shoot – and every day when he arrived at the YMCA, he wanted to play basketball.

But Parker wasn’t the only thing jumping – so were his FitnessGram results. He took more than two minutes off of his mile run time, doubled his number of pushups and improved his trunk lift and sit exercise.

And it turns out he learned a little something about nutrition along the way too. One night his mom was making a fun, simple meal for dinner. Parker came home, saw his mom cooking and said, “Mom! That’s not healthy. Where’s the protein?”

Parker’s recipe for health success? Swap greasy food for fresh produce and get some exercise.

“Basketball is fun and healthy. If you do more exercise and eat fruit and vegetables, you’ll be more strong,” Parker said.