Teenage Kicks YUTE Gym

Improving the Health and Well-Being of Youth
Yute Gym

Yute Gym Programme

The Teenage Kicks YUTE Gym was launched in 2015 as a Pilot Project of the Foundation, with specific funding from The Massy Foundation of Barbados.   The founding members were Gina Pitts and Dr. Anne St John.

The aim of the project was to improve the health and well-being of youth between the ages of 8 and 19 years old.  The aim of the programme is to offer a comprehensive training experience with a safe, age-appropriate environment for students to exercise, and to adopt healthy nutrition.

There is quarterly monitoring of weights, BMI’s, and blood pressures. The effort is led by a Programme Coordinator and Team members comprising of a sports nutritionist and professional exercise trainers.

More About The Programme

The Yute Gym was developed with the aim of improving the health of the children registered in the programme, and with having a positive impact through reducing the risk for non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) in the age group.  In conjunction with the exercise component, the programme also orients the children on how to recognise healthy behaviours, addressing areas such as food security, good health and wise nutrition, food preparation, and purchase.  It also caters to the psychological health of the child.  The participants in the programme are students who fulfill the criteria of being overweight/obese or any child who would benefit from intervention to prevent or reduce the risk of NCD’s.  Referrals are accepted from a paediatrician, GP, or the polyclinic.

Pre-COVID, the Yute Gym operated on Saturday mornings from 8:00 am to 11:00 am.  The children are accommodated within the three groups based on their ages (8-19 years).  It is hoped that in-person sessions will resume in the short-term.

The operation of the Yute Gym is not-for-profit.

Update: 2020 Lockdown & Following
During the 2020 lockdown, programme facilitation through a virtual platform, was initiated. The exercise consultant, Falicia Goodridge would have invited parents and children to participate within her private virtual fitness studio and a few took advantage of that opportunity.  To ensure continuity, the Yute Gym Coordinator, Nurse Teon Waithe, maintained contact with them via their YG WhatsApp group – sharing tips, and checking on their overall well-being during that time.

Nutritionist, Kimberley Rudder coordinated and hosted online discussions with parents on healthy eating habits entitled “What’s Cooking”, which was well received.

The students resumed sessions from June 11th – December 5th, 2020. Prior to COVID-19 there was an enrollment of approximately 60 children.   In keeping with national protocols since COVID-19, the programme has catered to 30 students in the same three groups, mostly teenagers.

March 2021 Update
The programme operated in the virtual realm, engaging both parents and students. They used the online platform with two groups 8-11 years from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.  and then 12+ years from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.  It has started off as primarily exercise sessions, but the intention was to have the nutrition and other sessions incorporated online. External conditions will be closely monitored to determine when face-to-face sessions can be resumed. With several weeks having passed, feedback from both parents and students has been positive so far.

Core Team:

  • Consultant Paediatrician and Medical Director, Youth Programmes, HSFB: Prof. Margaret Anne St. John
  • Yute Gym Coordinator: Teon Waithe, Registered Nurse
  • Lead Fitness Trainer: Ms. Falicia Goodridge

Other resources are mobilized as required based on a set weekly schedule.

How To Enroll

Children can be referred to the programme by their paediatrician or General Practitioner.

Teachers or other concerned health care professionals should direct the parents to discuss their concerns with their private doctor or at the polyclinic to request a referral.

There is a form which is completed by the referring doctor and sent to HSFB for the attention of the Yute Gym Coordinator. The information is reviewed and the parent(/s) contacted for an ‘interview’ before the child is accepted.

Registration can be done online using our Online Application Form.

Application forms can also be downloaded, completed, scanned and emailed to the Heart & Stroke Foundation at yutegym@hsfbarbados.com.

HSFB Yute Gym Programme

Online Application Form

Complete and submit the application form below to register for Yute Gym.