Ready, Set, Play! Project is Supported by Rubin Community Fellows Program

Neeti Pathare, PT. MSPT, Ph.D., adjunct professor of physical therapy at Russell Sage College, has worked with local elementary schools to address childhood obesity. 

When she saw a call for proposals from the Louis and Hortense Rubin Community Fellows Program, she recognized a new opportunity to continue to collaborate with like-minded partners.

Pathare reached out to Rebecca Atwell, executive director of the Troy YMCA, to propose a cooperative project (Atwell, who earned a master’s degree in Health Services Administration at Sage, is now also an adjunct professor in the School of Management.)

The result of that outreach is Ready, Set, Play!, a sports-centered program to promote physical activity among children age 6-12. The program will launch later this year, with funding from the Rubin Community Fellows Program, which supports projects between higher education and not-for-profit or government agencies in Rensselaer County. 

While specific details are still being finalized and are likely to evolve with COVID guidelines, Pathare described the broad outlines of Ready, Set, Play!

The plan is to offer a series of six-week long sessions, she said. During each session, participating children will join two guided physical activity classes a week and will also be encouraged to choose a physical activity to engage in regularly on their own. 

Although a virtual component is likely, Pathare is hopeful that some guided activities will take place in person, and in that case will include several different team-based sports, from basketball to soccer and floor hockey. 

Kids will be eligible to earn incentives — including a one-month YMCA youth membership — for completing 12 guided activities and 12 individual activities. 

Doctor of Physical Therapy students from Sage will evaluate the program’s effectiveness on physical fitness, via data from fitness trackers provided to the participants, and physical performance measures in areas like strength and balance. 

Pathare expressed gratitude to the Troy YMCA and the Rubin Community Fellows program for the opportunity to forge another partnership that will advance “a culture of movement in the community” and a culture of professional service in the physical therapy field.

“When I reached out to Rebecca, she responded immediately. We both seem to have goals which converged together,” Pathare said. 

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