Eau Claire (WQOW)- Childhood obesity and diabetes have hit record levels in our country. One powerful tool against that trend is exercise. That's just one of the reasons why a local non profit is helping low income individuals stay active.
Sports are a great way for kids and families to stay in shape, but many activities from a gymnastics class, to competing in a 5k, come with a price-tag.
"We ran into situations where we were hearing a lot of people, they wanted to be able to do something along those lines, be it participate in an event or get involved in something or take lessons or have a membership to something but they just financially couldn't afford it," says Kristin Southard, one of the founders and president of Perpetual Benefit.
As Kristin explains, Perpetual Benefit believes anyone who wants to get involved in a fitness activity should be able to do so. "There are programs for people who are overweight, there are programs for people who are smokers," comments Kristin. "You don't' really see a lot of encouragement for people who are already doing good things to maintain a healthy lifestyle."
Encouragement, in the form of financial support, is what Perpetual Benefit provides hoping to help erase money worries for low income families or individuals who want to stay active. "You can tell people all you want that you should exercise, or this is good for you, but if they don't have a way to do that or somewhere to do that, or you can't financially afford to do that, it dosen't do any good," explains Kristin.
Here's how the non profit can help: say a child wants to join a soccer club or hockey team, but the fees to join are too expensive for the family to afford. Perpetual Benefit steps in, helping cover membership costs and other essentials, like equipment.
"When they're kids, when you get in the habit it's like any other habit you get used to doing that you feel good about doing it, you start to miss it if you don't do it. You want to learn other things about what you can do to be healthy and it helps you make better choices," adds Kristin.
Perpetual Benefit can also help cover the cost of things like a gym membership, or the cost to compete in a marathon. To learn more, find Perpetual Benefit's Facebook Page or visit their website at http://perpetualbenefit.org/