Boys & Girls Club sees ‘No Judgment’ fitness in Georgia
By: David Ibata
To head off negative behavior like bullying, give young people something positive and healthy to do. That’s the theory behind the “Mini Judgment Free Zone” – a suite of exercise equipment donated by Planet Fitness to The Salvation Army Peachcrest Boys & Girls Club in Decatur, Georgia.
The surprise unveiling and ribbon-cutting happened Thursday afternoon, Nov. 29, in a corner of the club gym. A former closet was built out as a mini-fitness center with ellipticals, exercise bikes, treadmills, weight-lifting stations and an abdominal crunch machine, with mirrors, carpeting and the Planet Fitness purple-and-yellow color scheme.
Besides representatives of Planet Fitness, The Salvation Army and the Boys & Girls Clubs, attendees included club children, neighbors and Harry the Hawk, mascot of the Atlanta Hawks pro basketball team.
It’s the first such installation in metro Atlanta and part of the nationwide fitness franchisor’s initiative, “The Judgment Free Generation,” which aims to spread kindness and end bullying. “As a company, Planet Fitness is committed to doing our part to shape a world where everyone feels accepted and like they belong,” said Stanley DeMartinis Jr., owner of the franchise’s 18 locations in the Atlanta area.
“We are grateful to Planet Fitness and its staff in Decatur for creating our new fitness center, which fills a critical need for our kids and teens and will allow us all to reinforce the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, both physically and emotionally,” said Major Kelly English, Peachcrest Corps officer.
The installation was made possible by a Planet Fitness $25,000 grant to the Peachcrest club, said Joshua T. Dickerson, executive director of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. Planet Fitness officials, he said, “were seeking to bring a miniature fitness center to the community so children would have a safe place inside to do exercises and cardio-vascular activities.”
To lead young people in a positive direction, “we preach the love of Jesus Christ,” Dickerson said. “Also, studies show that the healthier children are, and the more activities they have to do, the less likely they’ll participate in bullying and other negative activities.”