At Ginn Academy, an all-boys public high school in Cleveland, Ohio, on particularly cold days you may hear the sounds of students running through the halls – but this isn’t a case of trying to make it to class on time. Instead, it’s members of the track team practicing for an upcoming meet. Without the proper training facilities or equipment, athletes at the school often have to make due with what’s available — but that doesn’t deter their competitive spirit. They know that this sport can help carve a path for a brighter future.
“It’s a sport, but it’s really not,” said Ted Ginn, Sr., founder and director of Ginn Academy. “It keeps them engaged. Gives them a chance in life.”
Ginn Academy is located in one of Cleveland’s most underserved and economically challenged communities and strives to mentor, educate and coach young men to create their own path to success. For many, sports are both a therapeutic outlet and a chance to create a better future. Being a student-athlete helps these young men develop many important personality traits, such as teamwork, commitment, time management and perseverance. It helps them see how their hard work can enable them to dream big.
“I want to go to the Olympics, play in a league,” said 16-year-old Dae’sean Evans, who plays football and runs the 100-meter dash. “If that doesn’t work, I’ll either be a lawyer or doctor.”
While the school provides these students with the opportunity to participate in athletic programs, the lack of funding leaves them without the necessary equipment for their sport.
“They need running shoes but their parents can’t afford it,” Ginn, Sr. said. “I’ve taken shoes off my feet and gave them to kids.”
But the need goes beyond new shoes. To help support the mission of Ginn Academy and to encourage the young men to continue to stay active and live healthier lifestyles, UnitedHealthcare is donating $12,500 to the track and field team to help cover expenses for the coming season.
“At UnitedHealthcare, what we’re really trying to encourage more people to use walking as a way to maintain or improve their health, as studies show consistent movement carries a host of health benefits,” said Tom Sullivan, executive director, UnitedHealthcare of Northern Ohio. “And these young men, they’re tremendous athletes. They’re getting a few more than 10,000 steps in each day, I’m sure.”
The team looks forward to using the donation to purchase starting blocks or hurdles, or even possibly competing in new uniforms.
“I don’t think we’ve had a uniform since about five or six years,” said Ginn, Sr. “It’d help us in a lot of ways.”
The donation is given as part of UnitedHealthcare’s Step Up for Better Health Sweepstakes, a national initiative to encourage people to walk more and to help reduce childhood obesity. On behalf of the first 25,000 people to sign the pledge, UnitedHealthcare will donate $1 each, for a grand total of $25,000. In addition to Ginn Academy, Boys & Girls Clubs across the country will receive new treadmills, pedometers and financial contributions to encourage an active lifestyle.
You can sign up for the sweepstakes** at uhcwalkingmaps.com.
By pledging to walk more, you’ll also have the chance to win one of more than 100 walking-related prizes, including:
- Grand Prize: Trip for two to hike the Grand Canyon in Arizona (one trip available);
- First Prize: Apple Watch® (10 devices available); and
- Second Prize: $25 gift cards to Foot Locker (100 gift cards available).
Apple Watch is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc. Apple is not a participant or sponsor of this promotion.
*Check with your doctor to determine what activity level is right for you.
**Participation in any UnitedHealthcare product or program is not a requirement to participate in the sweepstakes.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Open to legal residents of 50 U.S. and D.C., 18 or older. To Enter: Visit www.UHCWalkingmaps.com (“Website”) between 12:01 AM CT on 3/28/19 and 11:59 PM CT on 4/30/19, follow online instructions, and agree to take the “Step Up for Better Health” Pledge to be healthier. Prizes: Grand (1): Travel voucher (maximum ARV $5,000); First (10): Apple Watch® (ARV $279); Second (100): $25 Foot Locker® gift card; Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received for each drawing. See Website for drawing dates, details, limitations & Official Rules. United HealthCare Services, Inc., Minnetonka, MN 55343.