To celebrate NFL Flag Football Week in Georgia, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation is unveiling flag football equipment donations to elementary and middle schools in every one of the state’s 159 counties. Through the new initiative, Rise Up! 159, the Falcons are donating NFL Flag Football kits for use in P.E. classes at 80 elementary schools and 79 middle schools. The kits include 50 flag belts and Falcons NFL Flag reversible jerseys, footballs, water bottles, T-shirts and other supplies. During 2017-18, P.E. teachers at the 159 schools, which includes Ruskin Elementary in Ware County, will use NFL Flag Football curricula to increase the time children spend in physical activity. The initiative will reach more than 30,00 boys and girls in Georgia schools.
“Rise Up! 159 brings children from every Georgia county into the Falcons family” said Mark Simmons, an Atlanta Falcons associate and part of the staff team that reviews and awards grants. “NFL Flag Football elevates the fun factor for P.E. classes, and that means more children will spend more time in physical activity.” To implement Rise Up! 159, the Falcons are partnering with Georgia Shape, Gov. Deal’s statewide initiative that brings together governmental, philanthropic, academic and business communities to address childhood obesity. In the official proclamation designating the week of August 21 as NFL Flag Football Week in Georgia, Gov. Deal recognized that NFL Flag Football participation has increased 19 percent annually since 2011, and over the past two years the Falcons have trained 400 P.E. teachers in 9 school districts to implement the NFL Flag Football curriculum.
“Rise Up! 159 is a game-changer,” said J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, which administers Georgia Shape. “Increased physical activity results in fewer disciplinary incidents, teachers see more instructional time, and students are better prepared to learn.” A new web site, www.RiseUp159.org, includes a map with information about the 159 school partners as well as future funding opportunities.
Investing across Georgia, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation helps nonprofit organizations reduce childhood obesity and improve youth fitness. The foundation was established in 1985 to serve as the philanthropic arm of the Atlanta Falcons. Since Arthur Blank acquired the Atlanta Falcons in 2002, the foundation has grown to be the largest owner-funded foundation in the National Football League, providing more than $20 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the state of Georgia. For more information, visit www.AFYF.org.