Business is booming for Father Lopez volleyball coach Larissa Maloney
| The Daytona Beach News-Journal
In April, when high school teacher and coach Larissa Maloney started her own workout YouTube channel dedicated to keeping kids active through the spring quarantine, she expected it to fizzle out during the summer.
But when the school year ended in May, the clicks didn’t stop. Maloney’s daily videos, called Active Kids 2.0, were more popular than ever, and being watched all around the world, from California to Ireland.
So instead of closing up shop like she thought, the Father Lopez volleyball and PE coach jumped in head first.
“I was doing Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. every day for three months,” Maloney said of her daily workout videos, which usually last about 30 minutes and were originally intended just for her PE students at Father Lopez.
“I ended up reaching over 50,000 families. It just exploded. After that, we hit summer and I had a lot of people asking if I was going to continue … I just thought, if this is such a need, and people are asking for it, let me turn this into something bigger.”
In June, Maloney built her own website and created multiple job openings for Active Kids 2.0, aiming to bring in various instructors to expand her reach. Since the beginning of summer, Maloney has hired eight coaches from around the country who contribute to the website weekly, including two dance coaches, a karate coach, and a yoga instructor.
“I wanted it to be a full, online fitness and wellness program,” said Maloney, who was a three-sport athlete at Seabreeze, a star on the Lynn University volleyball team, and a personal trainer in South Florida.
“It has specialty classes now, so it’s no longer just me doing cardio and strength videos … it’s now karate, boxing, yoga, cheer, gymnastics. We have a whole bunch of stuff now.”
QUARANTINE WORKOUTS: Lopez coach starts daily workout routine on YouTube
Hundreds of new subscribers
All the upgrades came with a price, as Maloney turned the once free service into mostly subscriber-only content — $19 for a monthly membership, $189 yearly, or $200 for schools that are remote this semester due to the virus and want to use the service.
Nearly four months later, the company now has around 300 subscribers, from stay-at-home moms, to athletes, to school teachers.
“I’ve been able to designate two days out of the week where we have kickboxing day and cardio workout day, which leaves me three days to run my unit lessons,” said Mychael Morris, an elementary school PE teacher in Ban City, Texas.
When Maloney started doing the videos this past spring, she posted them to various PE Facebook groups, which attracted teachers and schools from around the country to her page. Morris is teaching both in-person and online this semester due to the virus.
“It helps that I do not have to constantly upload my own videos,” he said. “I can just assign the video that I want my students to do and they let me know when they are done.”
Arlene Sluchak, who lives in Sebastian and is homeschooling this year, said the personal touch is what convinced her to join.
“There’s this strong sense of connection with the coaches,” she added. “It’s more than just a karate or yoga class.”
Return to teaching
While Maloney has admittedly taken a step back over the past few months — Father Lopez is back to in-person learning and the volleyball season started last week — she still has plenty of ideas for the next phase of the company, including hiring a nutritionist in the near future and expanding the class offerings.
But even as things quickly evolve with Active Kids 2.0, the longtime volleyball coach said she won’t lose sight of why this all started in the first place.
“The point was never to make a profit or anything like that,” she said. “I was doing it for free on YouTube … a lot of my kids were having really bad anxiety because of the pandemic, dealing with depression and things like that. I just wanted to get families together and keep them healthy and active during that time.”
Watch video of Maloney in action and see more photos from the first day of school in Vokusia County: news-journalonline.com