We’ve all been there. You’ve completed your studies. You’ve passed the tests. You’re ready to begin living your passion to improve lives through physical activity. The only problem? You don’t have any hands-on experience.
ACE is working to change that. We are collaborating with other nonprofits to provide up-and-coming fitness leaders with real world experience in working with community members to change lives. 3 WINS Fitness, headquartered in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, is one such example.
3 WINS Fitness
3 WINS Fitness is a free community fitness program led by kinesiology students and held in low resource communities at public parks. The program began in 2011 with a handful of California State University Northridge kinesiology students and a professor seeking to demonstrate the link between kinesiology and public health. What began as a single effort at one park grew into a larger movement that celebrates 3 WINS:
Students gain job-related experience in community leadership roles; Participants get access to free, community fitness classes not otherwise available; and Community health improves as residents become more active.
Today, with ACE’s support, 3 WINS Fitness has engaged nearly 100 kinesiology students and expanded to 10 new sites in low resource communities. 3 WINS Fitness has sister programs in several California counties including San Francisco, Stanislaus and Los Angeles that provide hundreds of residents with weekly fitness classes. Together, ACE and its partners are getting people moving, three wins at a time.
WIN #1: Students gain experience
Celeste Alcala, a third-year CSU Northridge student who recently earned her ACE Group Fitness Instructor Certification, has been volunteering with 3 WINS Fitness for nearly three years now. Though she was a little intimidated at first, she soon became more comfortable leading groups.
“I have definitely grown a lot as a person. It’s a good learning experience.”
Celeste is also excited to apply what she’s learned in school to her fitness classes. “It is a lot different when you read something and when you see it in person.”
To ensure the 3 WINS Fitness program remains sustainable, all students receive class credit for their volunteer hours instructing group exercise classes in lieu of monetary compensation. In turn, students gain much-needed experience in class facilitation, leadership and business skills.
WIN #2: Participants get access to free community fitness classes
3 WINS Fitness serves low resource communities where individuals can’t afford gym memberships, are