When the pandemic hit, gyms, parks, community recreation centers, youth sports and exercise studios closed, leaving Angelenos, especially youth, with fewer ways to stay active. Even when the city reopened, many of these businesses did not survive. We know how important fitness is to both our physical and mental health, which got a group of local teens thinking.
A year and a half ago, San Fernando Valley friends Daniel Eini, Alexa Goldwasser, Matthew Goldwasser, Matthew Lerman and Maya Lerman were sitting together with their families for a social-distanced outdoor barbecue discussing fitness and the impact COVID-19 had on recreational activities. With a background in charity work and a passion for sports, the five teens got the idea to start The Big Assist Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping youth get physically active during a time when sports and exercise aren’t as accessible.
The teen founders use their tech savviness to make The Big Assist’s messaging accessible to their peers. For instance, their Instagram and TikTok accounts feature short and sweet videos promoting health and wellness, including simple stretches to do before you even get out of bed, at-home workouts and guided meditations. Students who are interested in volunteering with The Big Assist can receive service hours for their school.
Through in-person events and fundraisers, The Big Assist also provides resources and opportunities for local youth to get physically active while helping communities in need. “We hope The Big Assist will inspire kids to love sports and have the desire to live a healthy style of life,” says 17-year-old Alexa Goldwasser, one of the founders. Last summer, they hosted an all-ages basketball class, encouraging families to exercise and have fun while raising funds to benefit The Boys and Girls Club of Watts. Other partnerships have included Assistance League of Los Angeles and a virtual holiday event with LA Family Housing called “Assist List,” which garnered a “young founders” recognition from the California State Assembly last year.
To learn more, visit thebigassistfoundation.org.