On Monday, November 3, as part of the 49ers commitment to helping kids achieve their health goals and have fun through physical activity and the NFL's Play 60 initiative, the San Francisco 49ers collaborated with Optum to construct an innovative outdoor fitness zone for the students at Don Callejon Middle School in Santa Clara.
"The 49ers Foundation is proud to partner again this year with NFL Charities to provide the funding to support the fourth 49ers Fitness Zone," said Joanne Pasternack, director of the 49ers Foundation & Community Relations.
"As part of the mission to keep the kids safe, on track and in school, the 49ers Foundation looks for opportunities to fund programs and projects that will help kids get those wiggles out, get some big smiles on their faces and go back into the classroom ready to learn. The Fitness Zones are amazing because they provide a great venue for the kids to exercise and expend energy so they return to the classroom ready to learn."
The outdoor fitness zone will be integrated into the school's physical education program and will allow for up to 24 people to exercise at once – an inspiring venue for the students to become physically fit while also enhancing the outdoor landscaping at the school. The fitness zone is also earth-friendly, requiring no electricity and no scheduled maintenance.
49ers players, including LB Chris Borland, S Craig Dahl, LS/TE Kyle Nelson and LB Michael Wilhoite, worked together with volunteers to complete the installation process. The players worked hand-in-hand to install the final pieces of the fitness equipment and signage for the fitness zone.
"It's a unique structure," said linebacker Chris Borland. "Not many schools that I've been to have something like this. They were definitely excited."
The 49ers, along with Optum, conducted a "Health and Fitness" assembly in the gymnasium for 40 Don Callejon students in alignment with the NFL's PLAY 60 Campaign. The assembly focused on healthy eating habits and various components to better physical fitness.
The event also included a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event to signify the completion of the project. Officials from both Optum and Santa Clara Unified spoke along with Mary Martinez, principal of Don Callejon.
Following the ceremony, the students had an opportunity to work out with the 49ers players, including a brief autograph and photo opportunity.
"Our middle school doesn't get opportunities like this," said Vicki Martin, physical education teacher at Don Callejon. "We're financially challenged, so, this is beyond huge. There's just so much excitement around it with the middle school kids."
Leading up to November 3, Greenfields Outdoor Fitness, Robert A. Bothman Inc, Crusader Fence Company, Tot Turf and the 49ers prepared the site by drilling footings for equipment and fencing, installing fencing and permanent post for equipment as well as installing impact surfacing for the project.
The equipment will helps students develop the fitness levels, and muscle groups needed improve on the California State Fitness testing while creating a real passion for health and fitness.
"The thought was, if a young person doesn't have the muscle development to do a pull-up, it's hard to get better at pull-ups," said Jared Muela, youth football manager for the San Francisco 49ers. "So what we wanted to do was to create equipment that work those specific muscle groups so that they can get better and improve and hopefully get over that hump to be able to do that first pull-up."
Added Muela: "It's part of our commitment to keeping kids healthy through the PLAY 60 initiative. We want to give them an opportunity to get outside and be active and excel in a fun, safe environment."
The 49ers Community Mondays program is presented by Dignity Health.