Educating, Enriching, and Enhancing the lives of our youth through
Exercise Science and Nutritional Education

At Youth to the Core we have worked for years to develop a comprehensive approach to developing healthy children and students of all ages. Utilizing recent scientific insights into children’s health, we have developed a program that provides children with opportunities to learn, exercise and develop an overall appreciation for the complex nature of their bodies.


This exciting new approach to physical and classroom education is called “exercise science.” By using new technologies to delve even deeper into the study of human movement, health and nutrition we are making great strides towards improving the overall fitness of children everywhere. Exercise science gives us new understanding of injury and illness prevention, how diet affects overall health and how the body’s various systems work together.


At Youth to the Core we strive to provide a well-rounded exercise science curriculum that will benefit the overall development of every child. We provide extensive tools for both teachers and parents that will help them reach the goals they have set out for their children and students. Even though we’d like to be, we know we can’t be everywhere at once, so we have created an easy to follow system that will be fun and beneficial for teachers, parents and children.



Since 2011 we have been working with the McGill School of Success Charter School in South Park, San Diego. Our program currently handles 172 students T/K – 5th grade and we work closely with the administration, teachers and parents so the students understand the importance of staying healthy and adhere to the State mandated minutes for PE.

Bringing our mission into Charter Schools and focusing on low level income neighborhoods nation wide will have a long term, positive affect that directly benefits the students and significantly decreases the chances for childhood obesity and diabetes. We assure all schools receive the State Mandated minutes for Physical Education and perform the required fitness assessments through the Presidents Youth Fitness Program.


Mr. Bret H. Caslavka, M.S.

Executive Director

Mr. Caslavka is the founder of Youth to the Core, curriculum designer and primary educator for all Youth to the Core schools and programs. Along with his 30 years of experience in the fitness and health field, his work with youth fitness allows the organization to expand to multiple schools.

Zagros Bassirian


Zagros (“Zag”) brings a bright, qualified legal mind to our organization. His fundraising guidance to establish our marketing campaign will allow us to become a respected face in the community and expand our footprint. Zag’s desire and enthusiasm to bring our mission to our youth will create a foundation for solid, continued growth within and around the organization. We are fortunate to have such a young legal mind with a passion for youth.

Dr. Lauren Hayden

Assistant Educator

Dr. Hayden brings understanding the human body to another level for the students. Lauren’s anatomy background and her ability to explain the body brings everything to life for all the youth and creates questions which enhances the learning capabilities.

Ms. Jewel Kelley


Ms. Kelley keeps the organization together. Her years of dedication to multiple charities in the San Diego area bring a respected individual who has a deep passion for our youth. Jewel is an integral part of our organization to assure continued growth that our mission becomes a reality.

Mr. Herb Johnson

CEO San Diego Rescue Mission

Mr. Johnson is no stranger to the nonprofit community and his participation as an advisor brings priceless experience and knowledge to the foundation. From helping the homeless to organizing Boy Scouts, Herb has dedicated his life to service in the San Diego community.

Dr. Joseph E. Donnelly, Ed.d

Director - Center Physical Activity & Weight Mgmt

Dr. Donnelly is a nationally recognized researcher in children to fight obesity involving physical activity and diet. His recent study A+PAAC results show how academic scores in grades 3-5 improve when the students learn through movement. Since 2000 “Doc” has received $10 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to help combat obesity in children and adults.

Ms. Delia Terry

Home Room Educator

Ms. Terry has been an educator for grades K-6 the past 25 years and is the primary home room educator for Youth to the Core at The McGill School of Success. Delia was instrumental in assisting with the program’s inception and helping coordinate Youth to the Core’s curriculum for each grade level. Ms. Terry is now in her fourth year with Youth to the Core and brings the teachers voice to our organization.

Randy Truax


Mr. Truax brings an extensive financial mind to our foundation with a deep understanding and experience working with non-profit organizations of all types and sizes. Randy has been involved with youth organizations in and around San Diego for over 30 years. His compassion for others and his forward thinking business mind brings direction and guidance that will allow us to integrate with others.

Brandi Whitten


A non-profit financial specialist, Ms. Whitten is no stranger to school districts or non-profits of all sizes. Brandi brings a solid and realistic approach to Youth to the Core's financial direction. Her long standing volunteer commitment with SDUSD as a former PTA President, financial advisor and past recipient of Volunteer of the Year for SDUSD, Brandi guides every aspect on the intricacies of growing within the non-profit and Charter school communities.



Ditch that Chair! Youth to the Core Advocates Exercise Balls in the Classroom

Replacing hard, uncomfortable classroom chairs with posture-improving fitness balls should be an easy decision for any teacher or school board. However, like many, McGill School of Success principal Deborah Huggins was weary when Pilates for Kids instructor Bret Caslavka approached her with the idea. Caslavka explained that research shows exercise balls actually improve student’s focus along ...

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The importance of posture in youths

During a recent post, I touched briefly on how a small thing like poor posture can actually drain kids’ energy levels during the course of a day—and how Pilates can improve that posture, giving them more energy to focus on things like schoolwork and personal development. I wanted to delve into this topic a bit ...

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Watching kids watch themselves grow!

One of the joys of raising kids is seeing them develop in such unique ways. Different personalities, different hobbies, different learning styles. For kids, though, sometimes their rapidly changing and growing bodies can be a source of frustration. They’re constantly having to adapt to new circumstances, overcome new obstacles, and rediscover what they’re capable of. ...

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Flex that Mental Muscle!

We’ve talked about how important warm-ups are before kids start any sort of sport or physical activity. A warm-up before working out (such as in a Pilates session), not only benefits the body, but can also boost mental engagement and focus. In the same vein, we love making Pilates not just about physical growth, but ...

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Do Kids Need Pre-Pilates Warm-Ups?

Kids often seem to be “always on” when it comes to physical activity. It’s like they can bound into action at a moment’s notice, and their growing bodies already have plenty of energy stored up to engage whatever challenge they face. Do they, like adults, need to warm-up before any sort of exercise? Or can ...

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Promoting Active Education in a Classroom Environment!

Many people still approach the mind and body as separate components of health. Or they consider the “mind” element to be primary, and the body is submissive to it, with health being the result of mental willpower or some such. The truth is, they’re interlinked and equally important. Yes, the mind is essential to pursuing ...

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Getting Back to the Basics of Youth Health!

With so many jazzy and snazzy youth activity programs popping up all across the country, the general theme of kid-focused fitness seems to be one of…well…almost desperation, if you think about it. From coast to coast, the frantic cries are ringing out, “We’ve got to get our kids healthy again! Child obesity is an epidemic! ...

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How to Help Youth Recover from Physical Injury

We’ve talked about how Pilates can be optimal for youth injury prevention. But what if the worst-case scenario has already happened? What if your child has been injured? What if they’re trying to recover their strength, endurance, and flexibility so they can return to a normal level of physical activity and health? Fortunately, Pilates is ...

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Pilates and the Power of Youth Injury Prevention

Have you heard the phrase, “the best defense is a good offense?” No doubt you have. It’s often used in sports, or even as a mental illustration of a strategic approach. Rather than letting yourself get caught off-guard, why not eliminate the opposition as much before they even have a chance to turn the tables? ...

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