I found this story while researching the upcoming Portland Trailblazer season. It's so good to find some of the great old Blazers from the past still in our community doing good things!
On September 19th, Trail Blazers Ambassador Jerome Kersey, along with members from the PEAK Coalition (Physical Education for All Kids), testified before Oregon’s Joint Ways and Means Committee to secure additional funding for the PE grant bill established last session by HB 3141. The bill is aimed at providing equal opportunities for schools across the state with the resources and training they need to provide evidence-based PE instruction to all Oregonian kids.
Kersey was joined by Oregon State Senate President Peter Courtney and Isabella Acosta Barna, a youth advocate and member of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board, in providing testimony to support the critical need for physical education for kids. “As an athlete and as a father I can attest to the significant life experiences afforded to me and my daughter through sports and physical education,” said Kersey. “I know firsthand the correlation between being physically fit and the ability to perform in other areas of your life, most importantly education, at a high level.”
The results of recent studies regarding childhood obesity in Oregon were what brought Kersey to take a stand. 25 percent of Oregon’s 8th graders are overweight or at risk for becoming overweight and this number has been increasing. The rise in childhood obesity is partly due to the fact that physical education is no longer a mandatory part of the school day. Lack of PE not only leads to overweight, unhealthy children, but also makes children less ready to learn in the classroom. The cost of obesity is alarming: $781 million was spent in Oregon in 2003 on obesity-related medical costs.
Members of the House and Senate were present to hear Kersey’s testimony including Portland-area Senators Margaret Carter and Avel Gordly. “Jerome, you introduced yourself as an ambassador for the Portland Trail Blazers,” Gordly said in closing comments. “I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone here in saying you are indeed an ambassador on behalf of the entire state of Oregon and we thank you for your years of dedication to service to our state’s children.”