Samsung Champions Health and Fitness For LA Public School Children Through The Ready Set Gold Program

Transforming lives of young Angelenos through support and encouragement from Olympians and Paralympians
Los Angeles, California – February 27, 2012 – The Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games today announced Samsung’s support of the Ready, Set, Gold! (RSG!) program in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

RSG! is a legacy program of the Los Angeles bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and is designed to motivate children to set and reach their goals, primarily in the areas of health and fitness in order to combat childhood obesity and diabetes. The program combines the excitement of the Olympics, the importance of goal setting and true American heroes – Olympians and Paralympians.

“By teaching our children goal-setting skills, RSG! not only advances their health and fitness scores but their academic skills as well,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “It is an example of how interactive education with a focus on the future can help Los Angeles youth become gold-medal students.”

RSG! places Southern Californian Olympians and Paralympians in LAUSD schools to encourage young people to adopt healthy lifestyle and fitness habits. The program’s previous three years of activity from 2006-2009 saw RSG! schools produce a 41% increase in students scoring in the “healthy fitness zone” on the State of California’s annual Fitnessgram test, compared to the year before RSG! was implemented.

“With local physical education programs withering and statewide Fitnessgram scores on the decline, now more than ever, it is important to encourage healthy lifestyles and keep kids motivated to achieve their fitness goals,” said Peter Vidmar, Olympian and RSG! Chairman. “We are enthusiastic to reactivate this important program in LAUSD schools, all made possible by the generous support of Samsung.”

In recent years, physical education programs in school have been on the decline. As such, many elementary schools have limited supervised exercise and sports activities and classes can have 50 or more students in each class. According to annual data published in the spring of 2011, currently only one in three students have earned a "healthy" score on Fitnessgram, California's physical fitness test.

To help strengthen the current physical education programs, RSG! in partnership with LAUSD, matches Olympians and Paralympians with 50 elementary, middle, and high schools. During the course of the school year, each Olympian or Paralympian makes five visits to his or her designated school and provides students with real life examples of how setting goals helped them be successful in sport and in life.

“As an Angeleno and lifelong advocate of the Olympic ideals and the power of sport, I’m delighted that Ready, Set, Gold! is making a comeback,” said Anita DeFrantz, Olympic medalist and member of the International Olympic Committee. “Our community’s many Olympic and Paralympic heroes will inspire our local youth to get active and make healthy choices, and I’m grateful that Samsung has decided to help us with this important cause.”

“We are pleased to support the children of Los Angeles and encourage them to lead active, healthy lives,” said David Steel, Executive Vice President of Samsung Electronics North America. “We have seen firsthand how the RSG! program affects students through the positive influence of participating Olympians and Paralympians.”

Support for RSG! is part of Samsung Hope for Children, the company’s corporate social responsibility platform dedicated to helping children around three key pillars of health, education, and sustainability. Through Hope for Children, Samsung helps raise awareness and support for deserving foundations, hospitals, and schools.

RSG! was recently recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative as a Commitment to Action, a concrete plan to address a major global challenge. Since CGI was founded in 2005, members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which have already improved the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries.

Over the coming year the RSG! program will be measured by California State University, Los Angeles with the goal of increasing the number of schools where the program is available and improving Fitnessgram scores in the Los Angeles area.

*A list of participating schools and Olympians are listed on page 2.