Let’s Move launched in the Magnolia Park community in 2012 in response to the expressed need for access to safe opportunities for physical activity. After surveying the community, CAN DO discovered that residents needed both more outlets and relevant options to participate in physical activity. Free yoga and Zumba classes were implemented 3-4 times per week at three different sites within the community (the Multiservice Center, Mason Park, and an elementary school) plus fitness testing at the beginning, middle, and conclusion of the program. Through July of 2013, almost 200 residents participated in the classes at least once with each session averaging 13-15 participants and a maximum of 20 participants. A unique aspect of this program is the inclusion of participants across the age continuum (ranging from 5-62 years). Computer-based nutrition education was later incorporated into this program for children.
Per the request of participants, CAN DO reinstated the program in November 2013 through partnership and incorporated nutrition education plus sampling of nutritious foods. In addition, CAN DO funded training and certifications for participants to facilitate and take full ownership over the program. Since then, Let’s Move in Magnolia Park has grown tremendously with over 600 unique participants, sessions occurring multiple days a week and sometimes reaching up to 50 participants (especially during summer months), and is completely community led! Participants have demonstrated reductions in BMI scores along with numerous testimonials about improvements to health and quality of life (e.g., smoking cessation, elimination of medication, increased mobility, improved family dynamics, social support, etc.). In October 2015, Let’s Move expanded into the Independence Heights community twice a week for a pilot period through partnership with the City of Houston Parks & Recreation Department and community members.