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Empowering Authors Give Back: Hula-Hooper Inspires with Children’s Book
January 9, 2014 | By Sierra Shafer | Staff Writer  
Former fitness instructor at the Palisades-Malibu YMCA, Jean Hooper has inspired a new children’s book based on her real-life story and love for a unique way to get fit: hula-hooping.Hattie Hooper’s Helping Hands is an illustrated children’s book following a young girl named Hattie who encourages kids to be who they are and find out what they are good at.During the month of December, Hooper donated all of the book’s proceeds to Operation School Bell, a charity that provides shoes, backpacks and school supplies to the inner city children in Los Angeles.Hooper had the unique opportunity to teach these students how to hoop, through a non-profit program organization, Los Angeles Nutrition Network, now known as Champions For Change.“I never had the opportunity to thank them. This is my ‘thank you’ to all of the kids and the Nutrition Network who truly helped me to become a better me, a better teacher and become healthier,” Hooper said. “I just love their organization and all they do for these children and their families.”Hooper was working a 9-to-5 sales job when a friend introduced her to hula-hooping.“She said, ‘Hey, for six bucks you can get rock hard abs,’ and with that I started hooping three days a week for up to an hour and got in the best shape of my life.”Hooper was teaching Hoop to Fitness classes in Santa Monica and at the Palisades-Malibu YMCA when the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Nutrition Network took notice. Hooper found herself teaching hooping to 300,000 students and 10,000 of their teachers.“I was truly honored to be such a special part of a very special program. These kids made me feel like a star and I received so many compliments from the teachers and their students, their words of encouragement and letters upon letters melted my heart,” Hooper said. “This was literally one of my life’s greatest gifts. I am over the top filled with joy and is why my book is my thank you to them all.”At the encouragement of a woman in her fitness class, Hooper decided to pursue a children’s book.“She loved my story and my Hoop Class, so I gave it some thought and the beautiful journey began,” Hooper said.With the help of her niece, and the book’s author, Nicole Vandervest, the character Hattie Hooper was created.“I fell so in love with the name, she then wrote the story Hattie Hooper’s Helping Hands that truly and divinely captured my real-life story,” Hooper said. “This is a positive message for kids about finding your passion, being who you are and helping others to find their passion as well.”While this is the first Hattie Hooper book, Hooper has plans for more and hopes the books will prompt kids to share their own encouraging stories with her.Hooper is developing the Hattie’s Hooper-Heroes campaign to recognize kids for the good things they’re doing to help others in their communities.“It has all come so beautifully full circle. It just makes my dream feel complete in that I am doing what I love, helping others, and believe it is what I was meant to be doing,” Hooper said.For more information, visit

LAUSD, Local District 1 Operation School Bell on Wheels
Special Valentine’s Event, February 14, 2008

Submitted by Janis Lake, RN, PHN, MS, Organization Facilitator, LAUSD, Local District 1

The Assistance League of Southern California, “Operation School Bell on Wheels,” will take place on Thursday, February 14th – Valentine’s Day between 8:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. at Burton Elementary School, 8111 Calhoun Ave., Panorama City, CA 91402. This program will provide athletic shoes, clothes and for the first time will include fun fitness activities for selected students from over 32 valley schools. In connection with our District 1 Wellness Initiative to reduce childhood obesity we are promoting the importance of physical fitness by teaching students and parents to hula hoop, jump robe and use pedometers. Our District 1 Wellness Initiative with Northridge Hospital, welcomes Jean Hooper from Hoop’n with Hooper to our collaborative partnership. This Initiative promotes the importance of physical fitness, eating healthy foods and seeks to reduce the incidence of childhood obesity.

Operation School Bell (OSB) on Wheels is a service provided by the volunteers of Anne Banning Auxiliary, Assistance League of Southern California.  Their 72 foot trailer will be parked on the playground at Burton Elementary. Athletic shoes, and backpacks filled with school supplies and fitness fun activities will be provided for 192 students who come from low income families. Twenty-two elementary schools and 10 middle schools within District 1 will send their students to this event with the assistance of our PSA counselors, school nurses, District 1 staff and parents. The mission of Operation School Bell on Wheels is to enhance self-esteem, to promote learning, and encourage regular school attendance.

In recognition of the problem of childhood obesity for this special Operation School Bell Valentine’s event we will be teaching students, parents and staff to hula hoop, jump robe and use pedometers. Selected schools will also receive pedometers, hula hoops, and jump ropes. Jean Hooper from Hoop’n with Hooper, Los Angeles School Police Department, Explorer Scouts, Local District 1 School Based Clinic, and Northridge Hospital staff are all assisting the Assistance League of Southern California with the Operation School Bell Valentine’s Program.

Assistance League of Southern California will provide each student with athletic shoes, 2 uniforms plus 3 polo shirts, 1 belt, 5 pairs of socks, 5 pairs of underwear, 1 jacket, a backpack filled with school supplies, a book, dictionary, and grooming kit. Operation School Bell on Wheels is an efficient response to children in extreme need.  Having Operation School Bell on Wheels come at the beginning of the new semester helps our students get off to the right start.  With the help of District 1 school nurses, pupil service and attendance counselors, District 1van drivers, school based clinic case managers we are pleased that over 192 children will be served from over 32 valley schools. Because District 1 is located far from Hollywood, having the fully equipped semi truck and trailer come to this valley location streamlines our ability to service many more children. The services are provided in only a fraction of the time, enabling many more students to be served, and means that our students and staff will not have to miss as much valuable school time in the process.
Over 192 appointments have been made for children (and their siblings) from the following 10 middle schools: Sepulveda MS, Columbus MS, Northridge MS, Mulholland MS, Vista MS, Holmes MS, and Sutter MS. Elementary students from 22 elementary schools will be served including Burton, Capistrano, Anatola, Gault, Hart, Canoga Park, Tarzana, Sunny Brae, Fullbright, Napa, Shirley, Tarzana, Panorama City, Tulsa, Noble, Rosa Parks, Langdon, Gledhill, Parthenia, Chase, Sylvan Park, Gledhill, and Plummer will also be served

Operation School Bell on Wheels Program is truly much more than a service project. This Valentine’s Day it will bring hands-on hope, happiness, and will show the children that they are valued and loved. The service provided by the volunteers conveys what a relatively small, yet extremely dedicated wonderful group of partners can accomplish in less than 5 hours! This is truly a shining example for our entire school community and the entire City of Los Angeles.

School Board Member Julie Korenstein will be providing certificates to thank our Operation School Bell volunteers and partner agencies for helping underprivileged students and families at this Valentine’s Day event. A “heartfelt” thank you to the Assistance League Chairperson, Debby Berg, Local District 1 Organization Facilitator, Janis Lake, Marisa Gonzalez, Case Manager Local District 1 and Roger Wilcox, Burton Elementary School for organizing this special Valentine’s Day event. For questions please contact Janis Lake, Organization Facilitator, Los Angeles Unified School District, Local District 1 at (818) 809-6226 or Debby Berg at (818) 310-429-8774 or Cheri Thomas, Coordinated School Health Facilitator at (213) 241-2684.


WHO:   Jean Hooper, America’s Favorite Hooper, will lead a brigade of HAPPY HOOPERS— “Kid Cadet” students from Crescent Heights Elementary and Curtiss Glenn Middle School in the 31st “Occasional” Pasadena Doo Dah Parade.  Hooper and the kids, a.k.a. the “Happy Hooper’s”, will jump, spin, clap their hands and hoop their way down the parade route grooving to the kids favorite songs from “High School Musical” and High School Musical II”, the Disney Classic movies!

Hooper uses new and improved Wave Hoops.  These are not your ordinary hoops!  The “Wave Hoop” is a revolutionary water weighted hoop made by Maui Toys.  Miss Hooper, better known as Hoop'n with Hooper, offers a “Fitness made Fun” program that teaches kids and adults how to get fit and be active while having PURE FUN with her “easy to learn” dance routines using Wave Hoops. To date, Hooper has successfully taught over 200,000 elementary, junior high and high school students, in all eight districts of Los Angeles, through the Los Angeles LAUSD Nutrition Network Program, a Non-profit organization that promotes a healthy active lifestyle for kids in the underserved communities.  Hooper says, “I created this program to inspire and encourage kids to be active, eat healthy, and have fun everyday!”

WHAT:  Hooper and her Happy Hooper’s will excite the crowd and interact with them, encouraging everyone to “Hoop with Me!”  According to Hooper, “Wave Hooping” is an amazing form of exercise, and is so much fun you don’t even realize that you’re working out!  The water inside the Wave Hoop works as a counter balance, so the hoop goes around by itself with little to no effort, allowing her to teach people who could never hoop before. It is her life’s passion and dream to get everyone in America “up off the couch” and hooping, in effort to help combat the ever growing childhood obesity epidemic.  As a former “Couch Potato” Hooper believes it is her “energetic style” of Wave Hooping that will inspire and encourage others to get up of the couch and get fit!  …This program can change the way we look at exercise, which will--in effect, greatly improve the general health of kids and adults, as well as boost their self esteem, she notes.

WHEN:  Pasadena Doo Dah Parade - Sun. Jan. 20, 2008, 11:30 a.m.
WHERE:  Old Town Pasadena