INNOVATION COMPETITION WINNER
What can happen when a small group of concerned and engaged parents is inspired to take action? Innovative and life-impacting solutions to some of our toughest challenges. Disturbed by the growing trend of childhood obesity, Kathleen Tullie, Jennifer Lawrence, & Cheri Levitz, mothers of elementary school students in Natick, Mass, were inspired by Dr. John Ratey’s influential book Spark. The trio were excited about Dr. Ratey’s case for the link between aerobic exercise and academic achievement, and decided to do something about it. Working with the staff and administration of Natick’s Memorial Elementary School, the group founded BOKS in 2009. BOKS is a 40-minute before-school physical activity program featuring structured group play with games and drills emphasizing aerobic exertion. Success of the program spread by “word-of-mom” and BOKS began to gain steam. With support from the non-profit Reebok Foundation, BOKS has grown into a scalable and flexible packaged curriculum that is being adopted by schools nationwide. From its humble beginnings in Natick, BOKS is now being enjoyed by students in more than 80 schools across the country and shows no signs of slowing down.