Hammering, clinking and chatter could be heard at the San Juan Bautista Child Development Center Tuesday as members the 49ers spent their afternoon assisting in the completion of a full remodel of the center.
The event was part of the NFL's Hometown Huddle program in partnership with the United Way and the NFL's PLAY 60 campaign. Wide receiver Josh Morgan, linebacker Manny Lawson, safety Reggie Smith and owner Dr. John York helped complete the month-long remodel.
"This is like the kid's version, the classroom version of Home Makeover," Lawson said. "It's part of the PLAY 60 campaign, so when you can't get outside, you can still do something inside.
"I think that it's going to help kids be healthy, get their heart rates going, get the blood circulating, and it also relieves a lot of stress."
The remodel, which featured the installation of a Fitness Interactive Technology center complete with a Wii Fitness console and Wii games, as well as two computing stations for homework and tracking physical progress, was designed by Dani Johnston, CID of Mackenzie Johnston Interiors.
"My goal was to create a room that the kids would be motivated to be active and live a healthy lifestyle," said Johnston, who donated nearly a month of her time to support the project."This project was really special to me because fitness and nutrition have been a big part of my life from the time I was a child and a youth athlete."
Other upgrades to the center include the creation of a 49ers locker room with red lockers, the installation of soft flooring and a new yoga/stretching/dancing area complete with yoga mats and an iPod for music, as well as the restoration of the center's educational materials.
After the players spent a hard day's work building furniture, putting together electronic equipment and affixing inspirational words on the walls, the students from the after-school program arrived for a surprise unveiling of their new care center.
When asked what her favorite part of the new room was, third-grader Katherine said, "Everything! When I walked in, I was like, 'what's going on here?'"
After the shock of the room's overhaul wore down, the kids jumped right into play time, practicing yoga, playing with fitness balls, using the Wii, and enjoying their new room with the players.
Victor, a second-grade student, expressed his excitement about the room and the day's event.
"It's like almost like a birthday party!" he exclaimed. "The Wii Fit and the exercise area (are my favorite)."
Morgan spent most of his day dedicated to the yoga studio. A staple at community events, Morgan discussed the importance of a room like this for these youth.
"We're trying to rebuild this room for the after-school program and give these kids something positive to look forward to after school," Morgan said. "It's always important to have the kids have fun at school because it makes them want to go to school."
The Executive Director and CEO of the SJB Child Development Center, Kent Williams, reiterated Morgan's sentiments.
"This is an incredible opportunity," Williams said. "In addition to all of the excitement that it will bring to the children, this project also brings a programmatic excitement because now we can focus on nutrition, and fitness and exercise and bring that into the spirit of each child's development."
The 49ers want to thank the United Way, Best Buy, IKEA and S&M Moving for their generous contributions. Best Buy provided all of the electronic components for the project at a 30-percent discount and assisted with installation. IKEA donated $4,000 of furniture and components for the room, and S&M Moving provided transportation for all the equipment. All organizations provided volunteers for the day along with helping the past month in cleaning and preparing the center for the Hometown Huddle event.
Hometown Huddle, sponsored by United Way, is a national NFL initiative with a focus on the PLAY 60 campaign, which promotes 60 minutes of physical activity every day to combat childhood obesity.
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