Redskins running back Alfred Morris made a special visit to Laurel Elementary to reward its efforts for being a "Touchdown School" in the Fuel Up To Play 60 program.
Because Redskins running back Alfred Morris didn't grow up with programs promoting healthy eating and living -- and because he's learned much more about nutrition since becoming a professional athlete -- preaching the values of the "Fuel Up To Play 60" program to elementary students has been an easy decision to make.
Redskins running back Alfred Morris made a special visit to Laurel Elementary to reward their efforts for being a "Touchdown School" in the Fuel Up To Play 60 program.
Morris' latest opportunity to share some knowledge and, as is usually the case, make some kids scream with excitement, took place Friday at Laurel Elementary in Prince George's County, Md.
Honored for being an annual "Touchdown School" thanks to their committed effort to spreading the program, hundreds of students packed inside their gymnasium Friday morning for a special assembly, which featured a brief presentation and Q&A session with Morris.
"I love doing the different programs with them just to pass on education," Morris said. "A lot of these kids are light years ahead of where I was when I was their age because I didn't know any of the information. So I just try to help pass it along and let them know it's important that you do fuel up, and you do play 60 minutes a day, and just finding that balance between the two is very important. The sooner you start it, the better off you'll be later in life."
Though Morris laments the fact he never had the same information and opportunities as a kid, he knows how important it is to reinforce good habits at a young age. Most of his address to students centered on eating a healthy breakfast each day before school.
"Being in school, they should have the balanced breakfast that they need, the proteins, the carbs, everything you need to sustain them through the day," Morris said. "When you don't eat a breakfast you get hungry and start eating the wrong things. That's not fueling up right."
Helping emphasize the point were a couple members from the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, who spoke to students about the importance of including dairy in their diets.
Katherine Pyle, a longtime dairy farmer in Union Bridge, Md., believes it's helpful to visit schools to see the program in effect and give kids an understanding about where the milk in their lunch cartons actually comes from.
"It's really important for kids to know where that milk is coming from," Pyle said. "It's a family business. We're all family and our job is to feed families, and we take that job super seriously. When people realize how much hard work goes into producing just a gallon of milk, it's amazing."
Like Morris, Pyle agrees that offering out this information is vital for elementary-aged students, both in the short and long term.
"I think if they learn that at an early age, hopefully they will continue that into adulthood," she said. "Then they become our consumers, transferring into good buying practices."
Later, several students were called up in front of their peers and were honored for being ambassadors of the program, which is designed to make sure students are implementing and directing these choices toward other students.
And, in a brief moment to get out some of the jitters in seeing a professional athlete, students taught Morris to dance "The Wobble," a dance move the running backfirst saw in college and now performs regularly at events like this.
"I think they liked it a lot," Morris said. "It's been a really awesome experience. I never really got to hang out with professional athletes…But rubbing elbows with kids, letting them know I'm not just a figure on the TV, I'm an actual person and do care for them. To get to know that [is] to distinguish that for the rest for their lives."