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Get kids moving in after school programs

11.. Afterschool exercise

Beckley Stratton teens playing hall ball afterschool with GenMove, an exercise game program available for loan to all programs. Afterschool programs mix physical exercise with studying to keep kids engaged.

Startling facts about West Virginia kids after school.


  • More than 21 percent of West Virginia schoolchildren (59,600) are on their own after school, responsible for taking care of themselves.
  • Only 13 percent of WV schoolchildren (36,800) attend an afterschool program.
  • Thirty percent of students who do not attend afterschool programs said they would like to attend, if one was available in their community.
  • Research: Compared with children who don’t attend an afterschool program, children who do show significant academic improvement and reduced use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Children in afterschool are also significantly less obese, studies show.
  • West Virginia should be getting about twice the federal dollars for afterschool under federal law, but Congress has appropriated only half the money the law allows.

(Source: State Fact Sheet, Afterschool Alliance:             20Virginia_Fact_Sheet.pdf) 

In West Virginia, afterschool programs fall into two major categories:

(1) About 7,100 students in about 380 programs attend state-sponsored programs that get federal 21st Century funding. These programs are mostly run by community groups. (2) More than four times as many students – about 29,600 – attend private afterschool programs such as YMCA, Boys and Girls  Clubs, church  programs, etc.

How can you find programs of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network, operated by WVU Extension, as well as those operated by private organizations?  Here’s a list:

How can you create healthy afterschool programs where kids don’t just sit?



Tucker County’s afterschool mountain biking club takes trips in season all over the county.

Use the Try This site!  Look through the Try This squares and ask that question: Could WVU or WVSU Extension help with a gardening project? Could kids learn healthy cooking?  Can you incorporate dancing?  Those Try This pages are full of ideas!  Start a running/walking group! Start jump rope teams with free jump ropes and the Modern Woodsmen curriculum!  Those are just a few!

  • Need materials?  The West Virginia State Afterschool Network has bought physical activity materials such as the GenMove program that are available for borrowing by any afterschool program.  Contact the network (304-720-9884) to find out how you can borrow materials for your program.


 Here are proven low-cost curricula /activities that will help you add healthy components to your afterschool program:


  • Healthy Kids Hub.  If you don’t look at any other link, look at this one.  This is a great collection of activities, information and material sources. A project of Healthy Kids Out of School, sponsored by a wide variety of organizations dedicated to checking child obesity. Check it out! Watch the video to get started.
  • 4-H Health and Fitness curricula:
  •      > Health Rocks. A research-based 4-H curriculum aimed at ages 8 – 14 that targets use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs
  •      > Youth Voice, Youth Choice:  Emphasis on healthy eating and physical activity. Includes the free app, Eat $ Move-o-Matic.
  • Build jump rope teams with free jump ropes and curriculum from the Modern Woodsmen.
  • Take advantage of the equipment and resources you can borrow from the state. These are available to any afterschool program, in the network or out.  Contact the Afterschool Network to find out where you can check out the materials. 304-720-9884.

Students interview a dietician during a nutrition lesson at a Grafton afterschool program.



These afterschool advocacy organizations will help you think outside the box:


Here’s information about West Virginia’s afterschool federal funding situation (not good):

Because West Virginia gets so much less in federal funding than federal law prescribes, there is not enough funding for all who apply. Only about 6 out of 19 programs that apply are funded.


Teens playing basketball during Charleston’s Boys and Girls Club afterschool program get a large dose of physical activity five days a week.

  • Here’s research showing the connection between exercise and academic achievement:

  • Here is a major list of research and research reviews that leave little doubt that physical activity promotes academic achievement, including publications by the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and major medical and academic publications.



Have something to add to this page? Write it in “reply” below, with your contact info, in case we have questions.



  1. I live in beckley wv an I’m looking for some type of club that my son can get involved in he is 10yrs old can you please help me find something in my area

    • Angel, contact Active Southern West Virginia. They have a variety of healthy activities in Raleigh County.


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