The Fuel Up to Play 60 program combines the excitement of the NFL with challenges, prizes and awards to inspire kids to be active and eat healthy foods. This was quite obvious when I recently visited the Kinzie Elementary School in Chicago on the day when Corey Wootton, No. 98, defensive end for the Chicago Bears, was there as part of this program.

As the children filed into the gym and found their places to sit, their enthusiasm and excitement was contagious as they somewhat patiently waited to greet Wootton. It only took the slightest movement of the door opening for the students’ cheers to signal what was about to happen.

I talked to Dawn Orlando, the principal of the school, and she said the students had been preparing for this day for quite some time. When they received their Fuel Up to Play 60 T-shirts the day before the event, the level of excitement was raised to an even higher level.

The Fuel Up to Play 60 program was created through a partnership with the NFL and the National Dairy Council. The Quaker Oats Co. has joined to support the Make Your Move campaign.

Wootton introduced a new video to the students that includes several NFL players doing their special dance moves. In addition to Wootton, the video features Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins, Steve Smith and Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers.

Then it was the students’ turn. The students preformed the dance they created to enter the Make Your Move Video contest, and then they taught Wootton their dance moves.

The Make Your Move contest ran through November and schools had the opportunity to win NFL prizes. In addition, the Quaker and Fuel Up to Play 60 Make Your Move Video Contest awarded five $15,000 grants and 10 $2,500 grants.

“Along with being active, you also need to eat a good balance of food,” Wootton told the students. “If I don’t eat well, it’s going to affect my performance. So you always have to eat well and stay active.”

The Chicago Bear said he likes to dance and work out.

“Good habits form at your age,” he told the students. “My favorite dance move is the robot — that’s my go-to move.”

Taylor Healy is a seventh-grader at Kinzie and she is the Illinois Fuel Up to Play 60 student ambassador.

“Our program adviser, Mr. Silva, encouraged me to apply to be the state ambassador and he said it would be a really good experience,” Taylor said.

“I wrote an essay about what I do to stay active and my favorite healthy foods, and they picked me,” said Taylor, who will serve as the state ambassador during this school year. “I was so excited when they told me I won.”

Taylor already has participated in several events as the state ambassador including the opportunity to introduce Wootton to her classmates.

“It’s been a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed this event,” she added.

This was a really great event, and I applaud the NFL and its players for their commitment to children and the importance of helping kids increase their activity level while eating healthy foods. It is wonderful to see these men take the time to work with kids and use their popularity for encouragement and positive influences.