Healthy Moves! Bringing Physical Education back to Lane County’s Public School System
Denise Morrow is a general fitness and community wellness heroine here in Eugene, Oregon. The native of Oregon is on a mission to improve the health of kids and families not only statewide, but ultimately countrywide. With a love for physical movement, Denise started her career with a sports focus. She was involved in Volleyball, Basketball and Track, and then subsequently transferred her focus to the dance arena. She graduated as a Dance Major from the University of Oregon, and like many young persons do post-graduation…she moved to the big City – New York City. In New York, her career exploded as she soon became successful in dance in theatre off Broadway, and also sang back up and toured with Atlantic label artists.
Transitioning back to fitness, her former love, Denise got injured. In her quest for healing she discovered the Alexander Technique, which ultimately became the baseline for her future success within the fitness industry, and her current business endeavors. Denise used her collective physical movement skillset to propel herself to success by working with high powered fitness studios such as Crunch Fitness. Inspired by her fitness efforts, Denise started Let’s Move in New York in 1988.
Tired of the expenses of Big City living, and just generally craving a simpler, cleaner, healthier lifestyle, Denise returned to Eugene, Oregon and continued her business operations there. Let’s Move’s goals are simple: To teach persons of all ages how to live a balanced life that integrates both the mind and the body. It is important for us all to be active, in our quest for maximizing our longevity.
The services that Let’s Move offers include: Cardiovascular Work, Trampoline, Strength Training, Yoga, Private Sessions and Small Group Sessions. For convenience, Let’s Move also focuses on home services, as well as operates from a small studio. Denise has established a Senior wellness program and focuses on providing Ergonomics enhancement services in organizations. Let’s Move is stable, thriving and beneficial to its broad spectrum of clients.
Denise focuses primarily on the Alexander Technique in her therapeutic practice. The Alexander Technique focuses on the optimal alignment of the head, neck and the spine. These three areas of the body are integral to the operations of our body’s core. Many of us, via various activities, lose our body’s awareness of alignment and degenerate into poor posture habits. For example, computers and phones can influence us negatively, and cause us to be hunched over our desks or phones.
The Alexander Technique, in three one-hour sessions can restore your body’s accurate alignment and reverse those adverse posture effects. Denise describes the training process as inclusive of “Massage” Therapy for general body assessment, walking and sitting. The massage is more akin to gentle physiotherapy with a focus on relaxation, and to realign the mind and body.
Adaptation of the Alexander Technique is dependent on the individual. Some students adjust quickly, while others take a little longer. Regardless of the timeframe for adaptation, the outcome is changed sensory awareness and improved body alignment. By the end of the third lesson students are in awe of the changes in their body and its alignment. Client expectations are always exceeded. Let’s Move has received great reviews over the years, and is enjoyed by all in Denise’s client spectrum. The business is stable and thriving.
Healthy Moves is the Non-Profit arm of Denise Morrow’s business operations. Started in Eugene, Oregon, the Healthy Moves Movement has been slowly expanding for the past six years since its inception. Denise created Healthy Moves in the aftermath of Michelle Obama’s initiative- the NationalChildhood Obesity Campaign. Inspired by the intention of the campaign, Denise researched the program through the regional school districts and discovered that many Lane County schools have no full time Physical Education (PE) teachers.
The lack of PE teachers in Lane County school districts was influenced by political mandates made in the early ‘90’s, which have left our elementary system devoid of physical education programs. Recognizing this gap, Healthy Moves was created to counter the deficiency. Denise discovered non-standardization of the PE training offered across the school districts that she assessed. Conducting research in the Springfield School District, Bethel School District and 4J district, it was discovered that a 9 week PE program currently exists in elementary schools. Once that rotation ends…a regular elementary school teacher takes over the PE sessions. With no formal education in PE, the students are typically at the mercy of the elementary school teachers and their level of knowledge about physical education. The ultimate result is a variety in the offerings of PE education offered to Lane County students for approximately one third of the semester.
Healthy Moves is designed to fill this outstanding gap in Elementary School PE education, by providing schools with part-time trained physical education specialists to close the curriculum gap. Current efforts by the Oregon Department of Education scheduled for 2017 to maximize the PE time allocation in the Elementary School Curriculum, has been postponed for five years. The new mandate’s objective is to increase PE allocation time in elementary schools from 60-150 minutes.
In the meantime, while the states waits, Healthy Moves believes that they are the change that Oregon needs. It is Denise’s effort to allow the state to help itself. With the growth that Healthy Moves has made in the past six years, Denise is striving to create a translatable, expandable model with her non-profit organization.
The current Healthy Moves expansion efforts have been rolled out to: Bethel School District, Springfield School District, and two schools in the 4J District. She is currently talking with additional schools to expand her Healthy Moves model throughout Oregon, as well as to migrate the program out of state. Research has shown that the physical education gap is a national problem.
Engaging her team of 10-20 persons in her trainer pool, Denise can accomplish her organization’s objectives. The pool fluctuates, with the trainers who rotate their services. All trainers are certified. As Healthy Moves expands, she is seeking to conquer new territories. The current potential area of expansion is Cottage Grove, where a new collaboration is currently being established.
With two thriving businesses, Denise is currently seeking the option to expand Healthy Moves into a Family Program. Healthy Moves has been growing over the years via word of mouth promotion and via entities such as Impact Club. Healthy Moves already receives grant funding from organizations such as Nike, Pacific Source and local businesses to support its operations.
To engage families, community events have been created to get the whole family moving and active. “Grassroots to the Blues” is the fundraising event that Healthy Moves uses to improve family and community engagement. The event is fun and free flowing, and features events such music and dance lessons. The overall theme is a music and arts fusion. With one event per month, you don’t want to miss out. Get out and have fun!
Finally, on October 20th the main event is the Fall Fashion and Fitness Fundraising Event at the LCC Event Center. Be prepared to be entertained by musical acts such as The Groove Two as well as other entertainment. Lots of food will be in store to satisfy your varied tastes.
Align yourself with a positive movement!!
“Youth are valid, we need them to be healthy and productive” – Denise Morrow
For further information , you can contact Denise at:
Healthy Moves email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s move: email@example.com