CHAMPS program matches children with Elon mentors
A wellness program for local fourth and fifth graders concluded Tuesday at the Koury Athletic Center when two dozen boys learned about physical fitness and setting goals from their Elon University mentors. And if Elon junior Brett Brawerman has his way, the CHAMPS program – short for “Coaching Health and Mentoring Positive Students” – will be something colleges elsewhere can replicate.
In coordination with lecturer Elizabeth Bailey in the Department of Health and Human Performance, Brawerman recruited his Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brothers and athletes from the soccer, football and basketball varsity teams, plus members of the lacrosse and ultimate Frisbee club teams, to mentor the male schoolchildren for seven afternoons this spring.
Program sessions took place on campus and included exercise circuits, sports skills training, and education on topics like fueling the body, being a team player, and handling peer pressure. CHAMPS was initially led in 2010 by T.J. Douglas ’10, and Brawerman picked up the reins for the second year.
The program is modeled after Bailey’s “Alamance Girls in Motion” wellness program for female schoolchildren. Just like with Alamance Girls in Motion, many of the boys’ parents have provided feedback on positive changes in attitude and self-esteem that they’ve witnessed in their children.
“There’s a need for boys in the area to be more active,” said Brawerman, a sports and health business major. “My main goal, because it’s a research project, is to write a manual for other universities to incorporate in their own communities.”
Such was the way in which Alamance Girls in Motion arrived at Elon. Bailey brought the program to campus in 2006 after seeing a similar effort develop at Southern Methodist University. It’s that same “franchise” idea that is driving Brawerman to write an instruction guide as the capstone to his independent major.
“This is a great opportunity for students at Elon to interact with children and remember what it was like to be young,” Bailey said.