The state of education has left many students and teachers feeling isolated, anxious, and exhausted. Now an international fitness star is getting back to his roots, working to help them rebound.
You may have first met Chris Powell on ABC's hit show "Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition." Over the past decade, Powell has become an international fitness superstar. However, during his recent one-on-one interview with ABC15's Danielle Lerner, it is clear the Mesa native and proud ASU Sun Devil has always stayed close to home.
"This is my hometown, this is where I'm raising my family, this is where I'm from, and for me, it's so important that I clean up my own backyard and take care of my own, my backyard first, and if I can do that here, I can do it anywhere," said Powell.
Itis out of that desire to take care of others that Powell's nonprofit Move ONE Million was born.
"We are more divided than ever, just because of the times, these crazy times, and so I thought, what can I do to just start people moving and also to bring people together?" Powell said.
Through the Move ONE Million app, users can access a simple routine, choreographed to music, available at the top of every hour, every day. Those few minutes of movement, followed by one minute of mindfulness, are designed to help reduce stress and feel connected with others.
It is a practice adopted by Japan back in 1928 and still used to this day.
"It actually got weaved into the culture of the country and between 1928 and 1955, Japan became the healthiest nation in the world," said Powell.
As a father, Powell says he jumped at the chance to partner with the largest district in Arizona, Mesa Public Schools, for his official rollout on Monday.
"Our kids are more sedentary than ever and those ramifications, not only is it going to come out in their physical health, but also their mental health," said Powell.
Superintendent of Mesa Public Schools Dr. Andi Fourlis is seeing that impact firsthand.
"Not only our students, but also our staff have felt very isolated during this pandemic," Fourlis said. "The one thing that we did learn very quickly was the importance of a total physical and mental well-being."
Fourlis says she already has several principals ready to incorporate Move ONE Million into their classrooms, with the City of Mesa, Dignity Health and other organization also coming on board. Powell says that is just the beginning.
"Before you know it, we're going to serve the entire state and I'm going to serve the nation, and then we're going to serve the world," said Powell.