May 31, 2024

Inspiring students to take charge of their health

Kaiser Permanente and the Los Angeles Football Club will launch the second year of LAFC Fit after a successful first year educating 6,500 youth.

An LAFC Fit participant practices soccer drills in addition to mindfulness.

In 2018, Kaiser Permanente teamed up with the Los Angeles Football Club to strengthen the health of our communities. As the Trusted Team Physicians and the Official Health Partner of LAFC, we’ve worked together over the past 6 years on many initiatives, from refurbishing futsal courts in schools and community centers to providing no-cost COVID-19 vaccinations and developing seasonal health education campaigns. In 2023, our teams launched a wellness curriculum to bring materials and resources directly into the classroom. Building upon that success, we will be launching year 2 of the LAFC Fit program.

Teaching wellness to Southern California students

To address young people’s health and well-being challenges, we established LAFC Fit, a program for students that promotes healthy eating habits, physical activity, and social-emotional well-being. In 2023, the program's first year, 23 teachers across 18 Southern California public schools delivered the curriculum to 6,500 students.

“We have been fortunate to partner with like-minded organizations to provide us with additional opportunities to improve the health of our communities,” said Michelle Gaskill-Hames, regional president for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California and Hawaii. “We are proud of the work that we are doing with LAFC and public school systems to empower our young people to prioritize their health.”

Promoting well-being with soccer

Kaiser Permanente and LAFC worked with Science of Sports to design the LAFC Fit curriculum, adding a unique twist by incorporating soccer. Over 4 weeks, teachers used the interactive lesson plans to teach students how to champion their well-being.

At the end of the program, 250 students from Mayo Elementary School in Compton, California, and Southeast DREAMS Middle School in South Gate, California, took a field trip to Exposition Park in Los Angeles to test what they learned in the classroom. The students showcased their athletic ability and practiced mindfulness exercises at 5 interactive wellness stations. They were in for a surprise as 2 LAFC players joined in on the fun.

“Sports help promote a healthy lifestyle, and LAFC Fit has been a great way for us to engage with young people and encourage them to prioritize their well-being,” said Larry Freedman, LAFC co-president and chief business officer.

Our partnership has plenty to celebrate, including year 2 of LAFC Fit. At a recent LAFC match presented by Kaiser Permanente, we acknowledged the teachers’ contributions to LAFC Fit and announced the launch of the 2024 LAFC Fit program.

Kaiser Permanente and LAFC together will continue to impact young people through LAFC Fit. In year 2, we have planned more surprises and interactive activities to inspire students on their fitness and social-emotional health journey.

Learn more about supporting youth mental health and well-being.