Bills players get out and Play 60 with local elementary school

Posted Oct 5, 2017

The Buffalo Bills, Independent Health Foundation and the Buffalo Niagara Heart Association launched the Play 60 Challenge and Fitness for Kids Challenge on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Buffalo Public School 32 - Bennett Park Montessori. Several Buffalo Bills players attended, hosting a pep rally and an outdoor gym class for the kids.

Tuesday, Oct. 3, proved to be the perfect day for the Buffalo Bills, Independent Health Foundation, and the Buffalo Niagara American Heart Association to launch the Play 60 Challenge and Fitness for Kids Challenge. The programs, which launched in over five hundred classrooms in the area, aim to encourage children between grades two and five to participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, while also encouraging healthy nutritional choices.

The initiative kicked off at Buffalo Public School 32 - Bennett Park Montessori with a pep rally and Play 60 gym class lead by several Buffalo Bills including Colton Schmidt, Joe Webb, Preston Brown, Reid Ferguson, Joe Banyard, Lorenzo Alexander, Conor McDermott, Andre Holmes, Khari Lee and Orion Stewart.

As the Bills entered the pep rally, they were greeted with high fives and handmade signs from children decked out in Bills apparel. After introducing themselves and sharing tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, they welcomed questions from the youngsters. From the fun and informative Q&A session, the kids learned everything from the players’ favorite healthy snacks, to their favorite dance moves – FYI Reid Ferguson can dab.

Following the pep rally, the Bills had a chance to show the kids some of the ways they stay active. As each child rotated through the different activity stations, they spent quality time with their role models. Encouraging healthy habits was something that came easy to many players.

During the event, Bills wide receiver Andre Holmes reminisced about how he loved being active and playing outside as a kid.

“When I was kid and there were professional players that went out in the community and showed them drills or told them how important it is to be healthy, it meant a lot to me,” stated Holmes. “To be able to do that for the kids, when I am in the position [as a professional athlete] is important.”

As the drills progressed, it was hard to say who was more excited to be outside playing, the Bills players or the kids.

“They can see more of our personality, more of who we are without the helmet on,” stated running back Joe Banyard.

“We can tell them what we have learned [about nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle] along the way,” stated punter Colton Schmidt.

Overall, the event was a remarkable success. Not only did the children pick up on the drills and score a few touchdowns, but they left equipped with knowledge on healthy nutritional habits and the importance of physical activity.

“The children were so excited,” stated Principal Marianna Cecchini. “I think they are going to talk about this for the rest of their lives. It is really phenomenal to have so many Bills come.”