Young athletes in Fort Worth’s Diamond Hill/Northside neighborhoods are scoring big, thanks to the efforts of Roxanne Martinez. Changes in her youth sports program on and off the field have participants – and their parents -- moving more, eating better, and connecting as a community.
Roxanne Martinez has proved that a small organization can make a big impact on healthy behaviors. Her organization, the Diamond Hill North Side Youth Association, implemented a number of Blue Zones Project best practices into its routine, impacting not just her program’s 150 children and their parents, but the entire Diamond Hill and Northside communities.
DHNS offers pee wee football, cheer, basketball, and other athletic programs in the North Fort Worth area. Roxanne first learned about Blue Zones Project back in 2017 and immediately decided it could positively impact the children and parents in her program. “It made sense with our mission,” she said. “We see the benefit in doing so – not just for the kids, but for the whole family.”
By partnering with Blue Zones Project, the youth sports family has sparked an interest in eating wisely, moving naturally, and finding the right tribe. Whether it’s walking together during practice or offering healthy options at game day concession stands, the youth association inspires a life of health and wellness. In the past, Martinez recalls seeing kids come in with fast-food meals in hand. After introducing their healthier nutrition program, parents are choosing to bring healthy snacks instead. And rather than sitting idly in their lawn chairs for Wednesday practices, parents arrive equally as excited to get moving with their Moai walking group. While children are practicing drills on the infield, parents are getting in their steps and making deeper connections during their trips around the track.
Other healthy best practices DHNS incorporated include:
As a result, the association became a Blue Zones Project® Participating Organization. But it goes much deeper than that. Martinez has been a part of DHNS for more than a dozen years and has noticed the positive difference Blue Zones Project has had on the organization. “It’s brought our organization closer together and increased our team spirit,” she said. “It’s not just about kids in sports, it’s bigger than that.”