By Jilkiah Bryant, OCE Area Coordinator for Health & Wellness
Mississippi is among the top states in the nation when it comes to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, but local nonprofit Operation FitNation is fighting to change that by advocating for optimal community health throughout Mississippi.
Founded and operated by Lawrence Muruako in 2008, Operation FitNation stems from a passion for impact through the celebration of life in those communities that need it most. “At some point, I had to ask myself, what about the people who cannot afford to pay for a gym membership or pay for a personal trainer?” says Lawrence on starting the organization. “I wanted to affect those people and impact their lives, I wanted to empower them.”
Their mission is to help create a standard of great health in poverty-stricken and poor health communities by harnessing the power of healthier behavior. Operation FitNation sets out to improve people’s health by inspiring them to become the best version of themselves.
Operation FitNation provides wellness resources, opportunities, and wellness education programs to individuals of at-risk populations while creating a fun-loving experience. “There’s a huge need for healthy living,” Lawrence says. “This opportunity hasn’t changed my perspective, it has enhanced my perspective and approach to what it means to serve others and these communities.”
Programs like their FIT Camps, Healthy Halloween, Fit Carnival, and the Right Track program engage and educate kids through a fitness-based social experience. They deliver community wellness events, media campaigns, and a multitude of online resources and also partner with local organizations, businesses, and individuals that support and are passionate about community wellness.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Operation FitNation has started a new program, Operation One Miler, to continue motivating communities to engage in healthy behavior. Having already held events in Lafayette, Panola, and Tallahatchie counties, Operation FitNation plans to continue extending their impact to Marshall, Desoto, Quitman, Coahoma, and Yalobusha counties in the future.
For more information about Operation FitNation, or if you are interested in getting involved, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website https://www.operationfitnation.org/.