Four Questions with Ewunike A. Akpan, Associate Manager, Mid-Atlantic Region

We are so excited to share the second installment in our series highlighting some of the amazing people BOKS is thankful for this season, featuring Ewunike Akpan. If you live in the Washington D.C. area you may have seen Ewunike representing BOKS on a LIVE segment of Good Morning Washington. Ewunike is passionate about BOKS, knows her stuff when it comes to physical activity as a trainer of all ages, and if you saw her segment last week you probably noticed she’s cool under pressure! Thank you for all you do for the BOKS program Ewunike!

Here’s four questions with Ewunike:

What do you love about BOKS?

I love that BOKS is a FREE program that’s made so accessible for kids because it’s offered right at their schools. Besides the accessibility of BOKS, I love that this is essentially Fun/Play time in the mornings for kids and I’ve seen how impactful this time with peers, running, jumping and laughing can have on a kids entire day!

How has fitness and/or physical activity been important in your life?

I was raised in a household where good nutrition and exercise were a way of life. My mother was a runner and an aerobics class instructor. Sometimes I feel like I grew up at the YWCA in downtown Detroit because my mom taught classes there and for a couple of years, my school was located inside the same building. I would hang out in the gym while my mom taught classes or run around on the track above the gym. And when she wasn’t inside teaching classes, my mom was outside running with her friends and I was rode my bike next to her. That was until I was old enough to run. I started running when I was 7 or 8 years old. I literally developed the skills and passion to transform my early childhood experiences into the career I have today.

Describe yourself in 140 characters.

Strong mind, body and spirit

Share your favorite BOKS story

Both of my favorite BOKS stories involve Michelle Obama and BOKS Founder Kathleen Tullie. The stories are connected because of the power of intention. In 2010 at the first Partnership for a Healthier America Conference, Mrs. Obama gave the keynote address and after her speech surprised the audience when she came down off the stage to shake hands and greet the crowd. I took advantage of the opportunity to move to the front and Kathleen followed. We were able to meet Mrs. Obama and quickly tell her that we were with BOKS a FREE before school physical activity program and that we’d love to share more information about the program with her. She graciously suggested we give our cards to her assistant.

A few short years later, BOKS partnered with Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! Active Schools initiative and we were able to host her along with other celebrity athletes and the former Reebok CEO at a BOKS school in Washington DC. The event was a huge production, but the end result was Mrs. Obama running around the gym of Orr Elementary school with BOKS students and experiencing the fun of physical activity together. That moment was priceless for ALL of the students and for the entire school. That event with Mrs. Obama cemented BOKS at Orr Elementary as an integral part of their school day, routine and culture.