TAMPA — It could be in the middle of the night when Janine Schwartz wakes up with an idea that could lead to the next chapter of her career.
Often, Schwartz will reach for a pen and some paper and write down her latest idea that came to her in her dreams. Some ideas, however, come from across the dinner table.
One day, she noticed that one of her children, Austin, was getting teased at school for being overweight.
“He was being teased all the time and I wanted to do something about it,” Schwartz said. “I started to research healthier products and to find out what I could do about it. He was obese at the age of 8 and I went to nutritionists who said there was nothing wrong. He just needed exercise.”
So she and her husband, Mike, went to work. They enrolled Austin in a gym and purchased workout videos. Soon, however, they found that the videos were not only complicated for kids, they just weren’t fun.
The Schwartzes took matters into their own hands. JaminJo Productions, a video series designed to deal with childhood obesity, was born.
She hired local aerobics instructors and started to produce exercise videos that emphasize kids. Her “Movin’ & Groovin” fitness videos are targeted at getting kids into shape. They are aimed mostly at kids aged 4 to 8, and run the gamut of physical fitness for youngsters. They consist of a complete warm-up, stretching, aerobics, and cool-down exercises. The music, also made by Tampa Bay area musicians, features everything from reggae to country to pop. The songs provide messages on topics such as proper nutrition, respect, and getting a good night’s sleep.
While putting together her videos, Schwartz found herself inspired to write “The Last Place Club,” about kids who decided they want to be the last player chosen for a team as a badge of honor.
It is only one of the many books that clutter the table of her home office, which looks much like any other writer’s office. Schwartz has written many books featuring Mr. Pugoo and Benjii Bear and plans to keep writing more in her Town ’N Country home. She has the names and numbers of agents and publishers all over the world. She knows it is just a matter of time until she breaks through.
“I’ve worked hard on the videos and on my books and it’s something I love doing,” Schwartz said. “Kids that watch our videos are losing weight and the kids who read the books might learn some great lessons. I love what I do.”
For more on JaminJo Productions, check www.exercizeforkids.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.