On December 10, the College of Health and Human Services will host the 2020 Health and Human Services Hero Awards to recognize individuals who are making a bold difference right here in the Central Valley. We will highlight the nine honorees in our Heroes Blog Series.

Heroes20-JaimeBrown-smName: Jaime Brown

Occupation: PEP Grant Coordinator, Madera Unified School District

Nominated by: Department of Kinesiology

For Jaime Brown, the ability to help students create lifelong healthy habits and improve their emotional and physical well-being, is what continually motivates her work as the physical education grant coordinator at Madera Unified School District. The three-time Fresno State alumna champions nearly 21,000 students and countless educators to focus on physical education and nutrition as the building blocks of a quality life. 

Brown has been instrumental in helping physical educators adapt to sudden changes brought on by COVID-19, incorporating traditional physical education curriculum into a 30-minute per week digital, non-traditional format. With her guidance and support, educators have access to professional learning tools, which she implements, with lessons that embrace technology while supporting physical activity. 

“The pandemic has initiated the need for a person in my position to listen more, encourage often, and strategically connect others with the right resources to overcome obstacles,” Brown said. “This experience has highlighted the importance of acknowledging turmoil, celebrating triumphs, and strategically creating opportunities where students, colleagues, families, and community members can communicate and work together even though they might feel isolated at home.”

Families of these students and Madera Unified employees are also able to take advantage of Brown’s expertise, as she regularly holds virtual workshops that focus on ways to keep children and teens active in indoor spaces, as well as tips to incorporate items at home into fitness equipment. She also shares strategies to decrease technology use and increase movement as a family unit, as well as share recipes that are affordable and maximize nutritional value. 

With 15 years of experience in the field guiding her, Brown helped Madera Unified achieve recognition as one of “America’s Healthiest Schools” by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation  – one of the few districts in the state to achieve this honor. 

“This is a tremendous accomplishment given the unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Nicole Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. “Jaime is a tremendous leader and true champion for physical education teachers and students, and her leadership and guidance help ensure that teachers are empowered and have the tools needed to help the district achieve these goals.”

Outside of Madera Unified, Brown stays connected and committed to the Department of Kinesiology at Fresno State and believes that paying it forward is the best way to guide future physical educators. This includes developing internships for students to experience teaching at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Brown also regularly mentors students completing their final student teaching courses and maintains professional relationships with them long after graduating – a way, she says, for her to bridge connections for her fellow Bulldogs who mean so much to her.

The 2020 Health and Human Services Hero Awards, which celebrates heroes from each of the seven departments, as well as centers and institutes within our college, will be held virtually this year. To register, visit bit.ly/CHHS-Heroes2020 For more information on the event, contact Beth Wilkinson at bwilkinson@csufresno.edu.