With the personal and financial support of Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton, UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind opened its newest state-of-the-art fitness center at El Sereno Middle School in Los Angeles.
Sound Body Sound Mind donates fitness equipment, professional development for staff and a curriculum that uses high-intensity intervals targeting aerobic fitness and muscular endurance to middle and high schools in the Los Angeles area.
El Sereno received all new equipment including 27 spin bikes, three rowers, three steppers and three KRANKcycles, plus a full set of fitness accessories, including SandBells, jump ropes and agility ladders. Walton joined hundreds of students and administrators at a school assembly and ribbon cutting on April 5 to celebrate the center’s grand opening.
“It’s incredible to see how excited you are about taking your health into your own hands and wanting to be better,” Walton told the students. “And for us to be able to provide a place with the equipment, it’s an unbelievable honor and privilege for myself and the Lakers organization.”
Previously, El Sereno Middle School had a patchwork of exercise equipment and ultimately, a defunct fitness center because of safety concerns. As a result, a relatively small number of students have passed the California Fitnessgram test, which evaluates students’ physical fitness. The newly renovated room will enhance the school’s physical education department and the program’s curriculum will provide education on learning how to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
Twelve-year-old Alondra Nava said she was very excited about the new program.
“Both of my grandmothers died early from heart disease and I never got to meet them,” said the seventh grader. “I’m so grateful that they’re doing this for our school so they can teach us kids to be healthy and live a longer life.”
El Sereno is one of 10 Los Angeles-area schools, including seven schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, to receive a new UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Body fitness center this school year.
“We hope the students catch an excitement for physical fitness and being active,” said Matthew Flesock, director, UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind. “It’s a personal journey and as these students fall in love with fitness, they’ll live healthier lives.”