Whether you are working out to make a team or just doing your best to get in great shape, joining a local gym and getting trained by the people there can help you a lot. We go to Gold's Gym and Parisi Speed School (181 Freeman Ave., Islip; 631-236-4670) and we are getting to be better athletes by working out.

Parisi works to improve athletic performance and to help develop a higher level of self-confidence. The trainers are all professionals, and they work to improve your acceleration and strength. If you go there, you can sign up for private or group sessions.

Parisi is attached to Gold's Gym, which has a turf field and a running track, as well as a lot of equipment. During your training, you will be given water breaks. There are bleachers for the parents to watch you during your session. After your hour session is over, you usually get a report card. This tells you how you did for the hour with your training and what skills you may need to work on.

Every kid needs an edge, because school sports are so competitive. We're glad we train there.

I'm on the lookout

I am part of my neighborhood watch program, which was started a few months ago. My family and I joined because we want to keep our town safe. We don't patrol the neighborhood, but we do look out for one another, and we call our neighbors, friends or the police if we see something that is out of the ordinary happening near us.

The reason my area has a neighborhood watch is because of all the burglaries that have happened. First, it was someone's lawn mower; next, someone's leaf blower; then, my friend's bike. The police figure crime has gone down quite a bit since we started this program.

We are all registered with the Suffolk County Police Department through the COPE program (Community Oriented Police Enforcement). You need at least three families on your block to form a neighborhood watch program. At our monthly meetings, a Suffolk police officer gives us updates on what has been happening in our area.

Besides keeping our neighborhood safe, it is a great way to meet your neighbors. We have a retired corrections officer in our group, and he is always on the lookout for us. That makes us feel even safer. If you want to start one, visit the website suffolkpd.org. -- NICK FOWLER, Kidsday Reporter

CLASS OF THE WEEK Tracy Apicella's sixth-grade class, Islip Middle School, Islip