After more than a year of virtual community impact initiatives, the 49ers Foundation and 49ers PREP presented by U.S. Bank held their first in-person community event today in East Palo Alto. In partnership with the Wender Weis Foundation for Children, Robert A. Bothman Inc., Greenfield Outdoor Fitness, and Newfront (formerly ABD), the 49ers held a ribbon-cutting celebration to officially open an outdoor fitness zone at Joel Davis Park in East Palo Alto.
Furthering 49ers PREP's mission of empowering Bay Area youth to lead healthy lifestyles, this new public space features fitness equipment for residents of all ages including stationary workout machines like incline sit-up benches and chest and leg press machines. Wheelchair accessible machines are also available. The space adds to an already popular park in East Palo Alto equipped with picnic areas, barbecue pits, and a playground.
"We are extremely excited to get back to our tradition of opening new community fitness zones throughout the Bay Area," said Jared Muela, Director of 49ers PREP. "Opening a space like this isn't possible without the help and coordination from our partners. This event should serve as a great launching point for us, as we continue to get back out into the community with in-person programming."
"Many residents of East Palo Alto have expressed the desire to have outdoor fitness equipment within our beautiful parks, to increase use for all ages and improve overall health and well-being," says Patrick Heisinger, the Assistant City Manager for the City of East Palo Alto. "The City of East Palo Alto is grateful for the support of the 49ers Foundation and donors in making this exciting opportunity at Joel Davis Park possible."
"We believe play creates a spark that can't be replicated and that every child deserves a safe place to play where they can grow and flourish," said Amy Wender, President of the Wender Weis Foundation for Children. "Through play and sport, kids become stronger, confident, healthier, and more resilient. By creating this multi-capable fitness zone, underserved youth in East Palo Alto will now have a safe and inclusive place to play. We are honored that the fitness zone is part of WWFC's legacy, commemorating our 25th anniversary."
Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, 49ers PREP hosted a free Jr. Training Camp, teaching local youth the fundamentals of football. Kids from the East Palo Alto Boys & Girls Club were also invited to explore and test out the new fitness zone alongside 49ers alumni.
In 2020, the 49ers PREP launched several virtual initiatives like the 49ers PREP Virtual Fitness Program and online flag football certification courses in an effort to keep the community active during the pandemic. 49ers PREP's virtual offerings have garnered over 1.5 million digital impressions to date and are still available for free at 49ers.com/49ersprep.