CYO, CYONY, C.Y.O.,Catholic Youth Organization, Catholic Charities, Catholic Charities Community Services, Basketball, Golf, Baseball, Softball, Youth, Cheerleading, Dance, Chess, Track, Cross Country, Track & Field, XC, New York, NY
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The Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), a division of Catholic Charities Community Services of the Archdiocese of New York and The Coca-Cola Foundation have partnered to challenge the youth of New York City and surrounding counties to address the growing concerns of childhood obesity and sedentary lifestyle among our children. This partnership is a joint effort to bring awareness and increase fitness activity among youth in New York.


The CYO Fitness Challenge Program:

The goal of the CYO Fitness Challenge program is to promote the healthy growth and development of children using the assessment of Fitnessgram to provide feedback. Regular physical activity is the foundation for children and adolescents to establish a lifestyle of health and fitness. Youth can achieve substantial health benefits by daily moderate and vigorous physical activity. We know that regular physical activity in children promotes good health and fitness, two areas that need attention across the entire nation. The CYO Physical Education Program is committed to providing a structured platform to improve the health and fitness among our children through our network of parish and school based programs. The program is rooted in assessing fitness levels through the Fitnessgram program, providing feedback to the children and parents on their fitness levels and providing nutrition and wellness tips. 

CYO brings structure and organization to the school communities throughout the Archdiocese of New York to extend their extra curricular offerings. We are certain that the participation in CYO programs improves the overall fitness of the children. This grant from Coca-Cola has provided us the opportunity to enhance the experience for each participant through our school-based Physical Education Program. While we knew the children were active and participating, we could not provide any meaningful feedback on their participation. By incorporating the use of the Fitnessgram assessment tool and guidelines, we can now add valuable feedback to the children participating in the Physical Education programs. Because of the support from The Coca-Cola Company, we now have the means to provide measurable outcomes to the children and their parents in physical education through the CYO Fitness Program.  


Participant Pool:

The participant pool of the CYO Fitness Challenge supported by Coca-Cola is a reflection of the diverse population that Catholic Charities serves on a daily basis.  We had participation from 94 schools, in 9 out of 10 counties that make up the Archdiocese of New York, stretching from the southern tip of Staten Island to Kingston, NY, 125 miles away. In addition, two schools from Brooklyn joined in and took on this challenge. Our participant pool of 27,160 children in the first year of this 3-year program is having a meaningful impact. Ranging from kindergarten to high school seniors, this program is proving that it is not too early to start educating the importance of fitness or too late to make changes to a healthy lifestyle. This program has reinvigorated the physical education teachers and school principals to stress the importance of healthy living.


CYO Fitness Challenge supported by Coca-Cola is bringing on positive change:

“It's a great program that allows students of any and all athletic abilities to gage their own individual fitness progress.  It has helped to re-energize the P.E. program overall.”

Richard C. Meller - Principal
St. Helena School - Bronx

“The CYO Coca-Cola Fitness Challenge has certainly been an eye-opener for the physical education teacher and the students of OLQA.   As a result, some quick changes have occurred.  

  1. The phys ed program is more rigorous and focuses on stamina and endurance from Prek - grade 8
  2. A group of 8th graders, who helped with the testing of the younger students, are starting a health and wellness project (on their own) to promote better conditioning and habits for their younger schoolmates.
  3.  A teacher has started a Saturday morning soccer club which is attended by 30 6th -8th graders who want to become more physically fit.”

Joanne Walsh – Principal
Our Lady Queen of Angels School - Harlem

“The students of Immaculate Conception School benefited from participating in the CYO Coca-Cola Fitness Challenge. Nutritionists from the local health center made presentations to our students and parents to discuss healthy eating habits and the importance of reading food labels. To top it all, Immaculate Conception will celebrate our first ever Spirit Day/Health Awareness Day. The entire school will participate in outdoor activities at the East River Park!”

Mary Barry –Principal
Immaculate Conception School - Manhattan

“The program is intuitive and insightful. I am happy it is designed in a way that makes it easy and fun to implement with various age groups. I can see this programs positive affects on my students since I've started. It is a great teaching tool.”

Nikko Dessereau - Physical Education
Ascension School – Manhattan

“The fitness gram program has been a big hit with the children at St. Simon Stock School. The kids love to challenge themselves with the pacer run and they all try their best to do as many sit-ups and push-ups as possible. The program has had a positive influence on the kids at SSS”.

Hector Mercado – PE Teacher
St Simon Stock School (BX)


1st Year CYO Fitness Challenge Results as of August 1st, 2014

Participant Snapshot by County



Number of Schools

Total Participant Enrollment

Final participant totals

Participants completing Pre & Post Assessments

Total Fitnessgram Participation















Staten Island














Upper Counties - Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster





















Total Participation of 1st year








Looking Forward – 

The first year of this program has provided us with the foundation of success, as we have nearly achieved our 3-year goal in the first year. Year two goals will focus on the following:

  • Expansion- We will expand the program to an additional 75 schools/programs, bringing the two-year total to 175 participating programs. If you would like to learn more and get your school/program involved, please contact Seth Peloso at: