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Let's Play in Jamaica

(November 7, 2012) – The Sandals Foundation is proud to partner with The Coca-Cola Company to implement the Let’s Play Programme, which will promote and enhance physical education for more than 5,000 students across Jamaica.

Studies have shown that regular physical activity among young people has a positive influence on weight control, while decreasing aggressive behavior and improving the learning process. The Let’s Play Programme therefore focuses on the healthy development of children and is in keeping with The Coca-Cola Company Live Positively’s platform, which promotes an active and healthy lifestyle through play and recreation.

The initiative has been established in Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Panama to date, and is being officially launched in Jamaica today.

“Partnering with a programme that has been tried and proven, we can guarantee a positive outcome. There is much focus here in the Caribbean on great athletes and structured sports such as football and cricket. For this targeted age group, the focus of this programme is on early stimulation and the encouragement of constructive recreational habits,” said Heidi Clarke, the Sandals Foundation’s director of programmes. “Let’s Play simply creates an opportunity for every child to experience his or her greatest potential.”

The programme, which has been endorsed by Jamaica’s Ministry of Education, is being implemented in primary schools in Kingston, St. Mary, St. Ann, St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland. Teachers from 10 participating schools went through two days of training during which they learned a variety of physical education routines with the use of practical items such as cones, sacks, rings, balls, mats, canes, and other items. They were also exposed to the physical and emotional benefits of exercise; and methods of encouraging children to develop creativity, organisation and ingenuity.

“Through this programme we foster physical activity and involve teachers and students who share a great interest and willingness to build healthier lifestyles together,” said Jeremy Faa, general manager for Venezuela and the Caribbean at The Coca-Cola Company.

“With the Let’s Play Programme, youngsters develop skills and the enjoyment of physical activity that will be a part of their entire lives,” he continued.

The Sandals Foundation is partnering with The Coca-Cola Company due to its dedication to increasing awareness of the importance of regular physical activity at a young age.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with Coca-Cola Live Positively to bring this programme to Jamaica, and we are dedicated to partnering with great organisations to continue to bring programmes to the Caribbean that support the sustainable development of our region’s children,” Clarke asserted.

Meanwhile, the YB Afraid Foundation – founded by Jamaican sprinter and Olympian, Yohan Blake – has also endorsed the Let’s Play initiative.

“I think it is noble for the Sandals Foundation to have a programme such as Let’s Play,” Yohan Blake said. “Sports and fitness are obviously very important in my life and it is a lifestyle that I want to promote and encourage in everyone, especially the young.”

He continued: “This is why I had no hesitation when asked to endorse this programme. I know that through my foundation, YB Afraid, and the Sandals Foundation we will have a positive impact on many lives.”