Paying it Forward: GROW Central Florida encourages kids to stay active

The FOX 35 Care Force is on a mission to salute people making a difference in our community. We introduce you to a group of volunteers who are paying it forward, so kids have what they need to grow up to be healthy adults.

The sounds of children playing and running is music to Colleen Gonzalez's ears.

"My goal is that every child can get outside and exercise and really learn to love fitness," she explains.

She founded the nonprofit GROW Central Florida six years ago.

"I saw the need at the school level where teachers were buying shoes further students or I would see teachers also bring in balls and supplies," she says.

Her mission is to make a positive difference in children's lives by encouraging physical activity and healthy living.  GROW assembles packages for students at schools around Central Florida that might include sporting equipment, athletic wear, or shoes.  GROW has also helped revitalize playgrounds.

GROW was distributing items to students at Idyllwilde Elementary School when we caught up with its volunteers.

"I think it is absolutely amazing!  A lot of our kids are low-income so they don't get those brand new shoes all the time. They sometimes get their brother's or sister's shoes," says teacher Lane Litton.

"The kids are looking at other kids all the time. They're looking to see who has the uniform, the shoes, who has the new hairdo and they want it all to feel included and be welcomed. So GROW giving our kids that opportunity is a huge blessing," adds teacher Jordan Carl.

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