N.Y. Jets Linebackers visit C.B.W. Elementary School in Bayville
It's not everyday a kid gets to meet a professional athlete but for the kids at Clara B. Worth Elementary School in Bayville Friday, they met two of them.
New York Jets Linebackers Taiwan Jones and Julian Howsare visited the school along with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, to reward the school as a "Division Champion" in their Jets PLAY 60 "Eat Right, Move More" program.
The program is designed to teach children through school to make healthier eating decisions and exercise regularly.
"We congratulate Clara B. Worth School for providing an environment that provides with access to nutritious foods and opportunities to be more active," said Rose Tricario, NJDA Division of Food and Nutrition Director.
"One of the main things is to eat right," said Jones. "That way you'll have a lot of energy."
A roar of students cheering echoed the walls of the gymnasium and smiles were a glow when Jones and Howsare stepped into the gym to stress the importance of eating healthy and exercising daily.
"I think it's very important," said Jones. "It starts young.You want to start them off young so that way they get it in their head 'I gotta exercise, I gotta workout, I gotta eat right (and) I gotta eat healthy'".
"The biggest thing I want to get across," said Howsare. "Not only is eating healthy going to help you with your athletics and everything, it's going to help you with your academics in school."
All kids were invited inside to the presentation but it was all of the fourth graders (approximately 125), who took part in the Jets PLAY 60 part of the program.
The Jets players helped present a check for a $5,000 grant from the organization along with the American Dairy Association North East to provide for nutrition and physical education programs.
"If they eat right there's a great chance they'll achieve their goals," said Jones. "They'll do good in school, they'll be healthy, and have tons of energy."
The advice both linebackers gave to the students is not just for now, it's for the future as they continue to grow and strive to reach their own goals.
"Just to put forth effort in anything they do, whether it be a specific sport or school," said Howsare. "Just put forth the effort and work hard towards something."
Jones added similar advice and the common denominator is for these kids to eat right, exercise daily and you'll have the energy to do well in school and on the athletic field, which of course will lead the next generation into achieving their goals.
Both Jones and Howsare both also practice what they preach in realizing for them to play well on the field, they need to eat right and get the proper amount of exercise in practice before game day arrives.
"It plays a big part of my life," said Jones. "At this league when everyone's as good as you are, maybe sometimes even better, I got to make sure I rest rite and have a great recovery."
"What we have to do at this level," said Howsare. "You have to take care of yourself, take care of your body, and it keeps you injury free and on the field. It's very important."
So what did some of the kids at C.B.W think of the presentation and having the two players at school?
"It was incredible," one said while another added, "It was one of the best days of my life."
But these same kids also learned the importance of the lesson to eat right and exercise daily.
"They told us to eat healthy so you can be good athletes, and stay awake during school," the students said.
And while at the school they say they do just that.
"Were eating lots of healthy stuff," said one student while the others added, "We should do 60 minutes of being outside a day, and we keep track of it every single day."
Among their favorite foods: Carrots, Pizza, and Clementines.
The school regularly gives healthy options at lunchtime in the cafeteria and throughout the day with such items as fresh fruit and vegetables or even wraps.
As far as the Jets Linebackers getting ready for another season with Gang Green...
"I'm looking forward to going into camp," said Jones. "Going in and competing, earning my spot and hopefully having a great healthy year as well."
"I'm just looking forward to my second season," said Howsare.
For more information on the New Jersey Department of Agriculture you can visit them on Facebook or Twitter @NJDA1 and @JerseyFreshNJDA.