According to the Center for Disease Control, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled since the 1970s. It’s a disturbing trend that Randi Chenkin has made a point of tackling head-on through an exercise program she’s dubbed Randi Robics, which also spawned The Randirobics Kids Club Radio Show.
Chenkin’s programs air in California through a number of affiliate stations in addition to her having a presence on iTunes under the family, fitness and health categories. Each episode runs between 22 to 25 minutes long and repeats to fill in the allotted hour-long time slot.
The premise is that Chenkin is a friendly alien from a purple galaxy sent to Earth by the Purple Federation of Planets that not only leads listeners/viewers through an exercise program, but includes facts about science, technology and astronomy. In addition, Chenkin has taken her program on the road, performing her exercise workshops at a number of schools, libraries and community centers. A born entertainer, she started writing scripts and performing after-school programs for friends outside of her house at the tender age of eight.
“I was very inspired by Jack LaLanne, who became like a mentor to me. I used to spend a lot of time in my room just creating. I think I had something like 170 stuffed animals and I’d line them up like my audience,” she recalled. “Jack is who led me into studying fitness and all kinds of dance—ballet, tap and jazz.”
Chenkin’s love of people and wanting to help has also parlayed itself into her going pretty high up in the ranks of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), one of five federal programs promoted under the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen Corps. It’s a passion Chenkin has dating back to her initial involvement a few months before Super Storm Sandy hit back in 2012.
“I went for the training and it was so me. We learned fire safety, fire suppression, search and rescue, how to handle a fire extinguisher, first aid, CPR—it just goes on and on. I got to wear a uniform and its part of FEMA,” she said. “Out of 40 people, there was a handful of us that wanted to go forward hardcore. So I joined the team.”
The Queens native has risen through the CERT ranks, earning many citations and accolades. And aside from her in-home studio where she records her shows, Chenkin also has a separate CERT room with multiple walkie-talkies set up in the event she’s called to action. With her Randi Robics program recently BOCES-accredited, her fervor is unabated to reach kids of all ages. She’s also worked with groups of special needs children for a number of years as well.
With the radio show a constant, the next step is to pull together a live tour, where Chenkin will be front and center leading a Jane Fonda-type workout tailored to kids, with the objective being the performing of two or three workshops daily for four or five days a week. It’s a goal she deeply believes in.
“There are no healthy and wholesome models out there. Some of my favorite shows were Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. There is no Mr. Rogers today,” she said. “I want to be the one to have a program out there that’s live and about living a healthier lifestyle that’s targeted at children.”
Visit www.randirobics.com to find out more about Randi Chenkin’s exercise programs for kids.