Paraprofessional Mark Krey is inspiring students in District 197’s Branch Out program to be more active.
Branch Out serves students, ages 18-21, with disabilities as they transition to adulthood.
Krey first brought exercise to students a couple of years ago after he noticed there was a short break in their morning. During this break, Krey began leading exercises and encouraging students to use this time to move to the best of their abilities. In doing so, he adapted certain exercises to fit the needs of each student so all could participate.
What started as simple time for exercise eventually developed into a whole program for the students in Branch Out. They now exercise daily while also receiving weekly diet and nutrition training. Krey’s goal for this program is to inspire and teach his students about exercise in hopes they will continue being active once they leave Branch Out.
“My dreams for the future of Branch Out’s exercise program have come true,” said Krey. “This program is now completely student led. I love seeing students get excited about fitness.“
Mark Krey is also spreading his love for fitness in other areas of the district. He currently works with School Age Care (SAC) at Garlough Environmental Magnet Elementary School leading yoga and incorporating exercise whenever possible. Krey also is teaching an upcoming fitness class as part of the Access Program for adults with special needs through Tridistrict Community Education.
The Healthy Hero Award is a program of the District 197 Wellness Committee. The committee, made up of teachers and staff from all schools, strives to improve nutrition and physical activity district-wide. To learn more about the Wellness Committee or to nominate a district employee for a Healthy Hero Award, please visit www.isd197.org/services/childnutrition/wellness.