MAHOMET, Ill. (WCIA) — The stay-at-home order was tough on kids. So when small groups were finally allowed to meet, a new program started in Champaign County.
The RISE Program was the brainchild of Matt Robinson and his wife.
“We were thinking of things for kids to do, we know they were Zoomed out, Google Classroomed out, so we wanted to figure out something they could do on their own and then hopefully do some kind of in-person activities,” says Robinson. He set up the program through Mahomet’s Parks & Recreation Department. Kids got together and worked out. They also connected on Zoom to go over what they had learned. Lindsay Hewitt was called in to help coach the exercises.
“A lot of them were specifically to increase their vertical so it had a lot to do with speed and agility, so you had anything from calf raises, wall sits, burpees … We also did sprints, things like that, jump rope,” says Hewitt.
Not only did this program get kids moving, it also allowed them to see friends they hadn’t seen in months
“I think the best part for the kids is when they got to be with each other. So it was kind of when things were opening up, we started right when phase three happened and so we were able to meet in groups of 10 so we had three groups of 10 going,” says Robinson.
Charlotte Johnston was one of about 30 kids who participated.
“I think it was a good idea to do it especially because with COVID it’s been slowing everything down and without the RISE program I’d probably be really bored,” she says.
9-year-old Grant Morphew also joined in. He liked burpees the best, as did 11-year-old Izaiah Brotherton.
“I think my favorite part of the RISE Program was how active it made me feel. It made me feel very fit and that really helped me,” says Brotherton.
He’s not alone. The program helped dozens of kids — both physically and mentally — as they navigated an unprecedented time in their young lives.