Welcome everyone, I am so excited that you’re here- let me introduce myself.
I’m Samantha (but everyone calls me Sam), a born and raised Brooklyn native and mom of 2 super-active girls (Juliet 3, Ruby 1) who love to climb, swing, run and play. My partner Sean and I met playing dodgeball, and we found a love for fitness at Crossfit 718. We go hard on those workouts, but really enjoy eating pizza and donuts too! I have been an educator in NYC public school system for the past 15 years- teaching both middle and high school health and science. Currently, I am an Assistant Principal at a high school that re-engages students ages 15-21 who have dropped out or fallen behind. I truly love the work I do with young people, and hope to continue serving them.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was working 12-14 hours a day, supporting teachers and students transitioning to remote learning. My daughters' preschool and daycare shut down, but now had Zoom sessions with their teachers, and they were home 24/7. They were sitting for long stretches of time, playing games on the iPad or watching television, and they were beginning to zone out. To get them off of the screens, I started showing them videos of kids working out, searching hashtags like #fitkids or #crossfitkids. Unfortunately, there were lots of advertisements, and many pictures of fit adults. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to show my girls.
I created the 'I Can Be Fit Kids' Instagram account to collect videos of all types of kids demonstrating various movements that would build a foundation for health and athleticism, and to get my girls to move. I would show them a video, and ask "Can you do this?" and my girls would get up off the couch and try it. Handstands, pull-ups, burpees, box jumps- they had seen us doing these movements in the gym, but were much more motivated to move when watching other kids.
This was my favorite part of the day. We’d workout and have fun together. I would adapt the movements so they could do a simpler version of it. My girls would get tired and sweaty -- and actually go to sleep without fighting bed time, even take a nap! After 14 hour workdays, I was just looking forward to some quiet Netflix and ice cream time.
My second favorite part of the day was story time. I made sure I was reading at least 5 books with them daily (which seemed like 10 minutes of corralling my girls to stay put and look at a few books). We have a huge library, but by the 3rd week, I was definitely bored.
Dreaming of being back at the gym, I thought to myself how cool would it be for my girls to have 'snatch', 'bench press', and 'box jump' in their working vocabulary - in addition to knowing names of animals and what sounds they made! I want to reinforce positivity by affirming what they can do. There were Crossfit-related toys, but what about a book?!
So... I wrote it. Found an illustrator (my friend Manny @just4puns) to make my vision come to life. Self-published it. Printed it. Doubted myself the whole way. Worked non-stop throughout the pandemic, and now and I want to share this book with other families!
I am a busy, full-time working mom and educator. My expertise is in simplifying information so that it can be understood and easily implemented. We are stuck in a tiny apartment, with no backyard, much room, or $ for a rig or big toys. With all my recommended adaptations, everyone (even babies) should be able to do some form of these movements! Just like in my classroom, I want to foster a sense of inquiry, bravery, positivity, and confidence in our youth, all while having fun! On a broader scale I hope that through this book, Instagram account, and blog-- I can help grown-ups get their kids moving and be healthy.
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