Henryetta teacher shares Bal-A-Vis-X program with Lions

By DEAN CRAIG

Okmulgee Lions

 

After several non-local programs for our Lions Club meetings, we are back on schedule for a local program, and it was a “doozy.”  Local resident Beatriz Hodge, a former Okmulgee teacher now teaching third grade at Henryetta Elementary School, was the program, with assistance from her daughter Laila, highlighting the benefits of a relatively new program called Bal-A-Vis-X.

Bal-A-Vis-X was developed in 1999 by Bill Hubert, a previous teacher and martial arts instructor, who connected rhythm and balance with academic success.  According to testimony provided on his website, Hubert stated, “Slowly I became aware that, of all my students, the ones most deficient in these three basic skills often were the same ones who struggled the most academically.”

Tina Nail brought the program to Okmulgee after seeing the positive effects it had in the Norman Public School System after implementing the program in 2016. It utilizes racquetballs and beanbags for balance, auditory, vision, and exercise.  Hodge initially came across the technique while searching for a way to help her daughter Laila. A special training session was recently held at Okmulgee's Eastside Elementary. The cost of the session is in the $150-$200 range and the "balance board" with semi-circle "runners" is $109.

When Laila got on the balance board, she never weaved nor wavered, making it look easy (which everyone could see is not an easy feat). Then began the exchange of the two different colored beanbags from Laila's right palm to her mother's right palm, then the left beanbag to her mother's left palm, all done with the same cadence and rhythm.  There was a number of exchanges for this segment.  Then, they each had a red and a green racquetball to bounce to each other, again with the same cadence and rhythm. All this time Laila is on the balance board, still as a church mouse (the balance board does not balance itself), never bobbling any.  You could just see the complete concentration on both their faces, never changing expressions.  This is done in complete silence, no talking, no smiling nor change in expression.  Hodge explained that it's all about getting both sides of the brain working together.

Hubert's research into the brain and the body, and how balance, audio, vision, and exercise could get both sides of the brain working together, seems simple enough but it has such a calming effect on a student. Hodge says it is amazing to see the difference in students with around 20 minutes per day of these exercises, and fifteen students have gone from the lowest to the highest. Two other Henryetta teachers and a number of Okmulgee teachers have gone through this training.  She, herself, has attended five different training sessions, three in Norman, one in Tulsa, and one in Okmulgee.  And as you can tell, she is really a strong supporter of this program and says teaching is her passion but she would love to someday have an all-day Bal-A-Vis-X lab in the school where teachers could send their students when they need help.  In other words, to use an old Marine Corps term from Lt. Col. E. F. Carlson's Marine Raiders in WW II, she is gung-ho about this program.

A special guest was District Governor Gene Redford, a Charter Member (1974) of the Tulsa McCullough Lions Club (the club is named after one of the three International Presidents from Oklahoma) for his official visit.  We are always glad to have our leaders visit our club, and you'd think we'd try to behave better when an important official comes, but we don't.  

What an interesting program to learn of this relatively new concept to assist students who might be struggling academically to increase their capabilities and achieve at least a modicum of success.  

Not only do we enjoy a modicum of fun and frivolity at our meetings, but our programs give us an update on what is going on around us.  Therefore, we offer a special invitation to visit us for any of our upcoming programs which might be of interest to you.  Check out our calendar of programs in the Okmulgee Times and give us a visit. 

 "WE SERVE.”

 

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