Incompass Human Services initiated the Healthy Balance after-school physical fitness program in 2014 as a collaboration with Merrimack College and Andover and Lawrence high school administrators to promote health and fitness among high school students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Grants from New Balance Foundation, DCU for Kids and the Ronald McDonald Charitable Foundation make it possible for us to deliver after-school physical activities to more than 30 kids, matching them to Merrimack College students who congratulate, reinforce and help them enjoy the physical fitness experience, so that it might become a part of their daily lives.
- Year to year, Healthy Balance has a profound impact on student participants at Andover and Lawrence high schools, physically, socially, and behaviorally, said Zi Yan, Ph.D., professor of Public Health and Health Promotion at Merrimack College.
- College student volunteers and instructors get just as much out of this engaging and fun program as the students at Lawrence and Andover high schools do.
- As evidenced in year-to-year, pre- and post-testing, student participants improve on upper body strength, measured by hand-grip test; cardiovascular function, measured by a six-minute walking test; and flexibility, measured by sit-and-reach test.