Kristina and Jay Davidson
Submitted by Lisa Cutter
When their children were in high school, First America State Bank founders Jay and Kristina Davidson watched them attend far too many funerals. Kristina began to contemplate how to develop a deterrent to negative behavior – including drug and alcohol use – that could lead young people astray. She came up with the idea of an event promoting health and fitness and approached the Cherry Creek School District. The district suggested she work with Community Asset Project, a nonprofit established to support the activities of the district’s Wellness Office.
Partnering with CAP was a logical decision for the Davidsons.
Kristina said, “We believe fitness is a way to lead the youth in a positive direction before they get into trouble. A healthy lifestyle is beneficial for the body, and the soul, and prepares the kids to maximize their skills, academic potential and a future productive life in our community.”
The work of CAP is based on the 40 developmental assets as defined by Search Institute, an organization created in 1958 that uses social science to understand the lives, beliefs and values of young people. In 1990, Search Institute released the 40 Developmental Assets derived from surveys of more than four million children and youth from varied backgrounds. They discovered that success for these young people directly correlated to a specific set of skills, experiences, relationships and behaviors, which they categorized and labeled as the 40 Developmental Assets. The more of these behaviors that were embraced by youth, the better the chances that they would grow into “happy, healthy, contributing members of society.”
The assets fall into two categories, external and internal assets. External assets include such things as family support, adult role models, positive peer influences and youth programs. Among the internal assets cited are responsibility, personal power, self-esteem and restraint. Through a wide variety of programs and activities, the Cherry Creek School District’s Wellness Office supports the development of these assets in its students.
The Davidsons immediately saw the value of such programs in the schools, and a fitness festival dovetailed perfectly with their goal of promoting healthy behavior, and also with the mission of CAP. The First American State Bank Fitness Festival was officially born in 2000.
Throughout her years in Denver, Kristina had been a leader in the nonprofit community, chairing such events as Volunteers of America’s Western Fantasy, the Junior League’s Holiday Mart and Denver Center for Performing Arts’ Saturday Night Alive gala. Her experience helped her strategically shape the First American State Bank Fitness Festival, engaged a professional consultant to help launch the event, and pulling together a team that shared her passion and enthusiasm for the event and its recipients.
It took more than a year to plan and prepare for the first event, and involved coordinating with school administrators, volunteer coordinators and physical education teachers. Now celebrating its 12th year, the event is chaired this year by community leaders Lyn and Michael Shaffer, M.D., and boasts 260 school volunteers (including marching bands, course marshals, cheerleaders and pom squads) and 3,000 participants. While she remains involved in many community activities, Kristina devotes most of her time to the Fitness Festival, managing to fit in her passions – family, gardening, reading and travel – in her spare time.
Kristina is very proud of the event and the way it has grown through the years.
“It has meant so much to me to help grow this event and expand the great work done by Cherry Creek School’s Wellness Office. I can’t think of a better way to support the community than by encouraging positive behaviors in our young people,” Kristina said.
The First American State Bank Fitness Festival is an event for the entire community and consists of a timed 5K run/walk, a 1K fitness walk, pre-race activities, food sampling from several area restaurants, live music, children’s entertainment, a silent auction, giveaways and awards.
To date, the event has contributed $872,000 to CAP, enriching the lives of thousands of students in the Cherry Creek School District. For more information or to view the silent auction, visit www.fasbfitnessfestival.com.
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