Kevin Armstrong MD Memorial Sports Foundation Launches GO F.A.R. (Fun, Active Running) for Santa Ana Students
SANTA ANA, CA – In an effort to combat the effects of social isolation and mitigate the long term impact to youth physical and mental health, the Kevin Armstrong M.D. Memorial Sports Foundation has launched a new program - GO F.A.R. (Fun, Active Running), a socially distanced program designed to inspire students to recommit to physical activity. GO F.A.R. encourages students to join a running app which tracks their progress and records their distance. The Foundation will give prizes to the students who go the farthest as well as provide a “goodie” bag for all participants including a T-Shirt, mask, healthy snacks & other items designed to inspire healthy activity and good mental health.
When COVID hit, all Santa Ana Unified School District sponsored sports activities were cancelled. This was particularly devastating for younger students. Studies show that social isolation in young people can lead to immediate negative mental health outcomes with potentially severe consequences later in life. In recent months, some high school sports programs have received the green light to resume, however, there are still no organized athletic activities at the intermediate school level. “Social isolation has forced us to use other avenues to reach our student athletes. GO F.A.R. allows us to encourage students from a distance and is a productive way to keep them engaged,” said Jesse Penunuri, a RunStrong Coach/Coordinator.
The Foundation has been in partnership with the Santa Ana Unified School District since 2005 sponsoring intermediate school athletic activities and in 2010, launched RunStrong, a program that instills a love of running in intermediate-age students while promoting living a healthy lifestyle. Over the past 10 years, the Foundation has covered the cost of over 5,000 registration fees for Santa Ana student runners as well as purchased and distributed over 1,700 new pairs of high quality running shoes to low income students. The Foundation also provides RunStrong T-Shirts, healthy snacks as well as transportation to and from running events throughout Orange County.
Dr. Armstrong was passionate about sports and the positive impact that they could have on children and adolescents, and the Foundation continues to carry out this vision. He attended Diamond Elementary School and Carr Intermediate School in Santa Ana, where he was the ASB President and Valedictorian. He continued his higher education at Princeton University and UCLA Medical School, and became a respected orthopedic surgeon at UCI Medical Center. On Friday nights, Dr. Armstrong could be found on the sidelines of high school football games, serving as a member of the medical team.
He passed away in 2005 from a rare heart condition, but his passion for young people in his hometown community of Santa Ana to lead healthy lives continues through the work of the Foundation. “One of the greatest joys in life is to help, inspire and encourage someone else,” said Karen Armstrong, Dr. Armstrong’s sister and Vice President of the Foundation. “It’s even more special when it’s a young person from a disadvantaged background who just needs to know that someone cares for them and is willing to help them do better and be better. That goes a long way,”
The Foundation celebrates the life and legacy of local orthopedic surgeon, Kevin L. Armstrong MD, and his belief that students of modest economic means may achieve higher goals with support, inspiration and opportunities. Visit our About page for more information on the Foundation and get involved by making a donation.
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The nonprofit Kevin L. Armstrong M.D. Memorial Sports Foundation creates opportunities for at-risk students to reach their full potential academically and athletically. Our RunStrong programs help kids succeed in life. Get involved!