Healthy school start: Event helps get children ready for school

July, 2009 Posted in School

By Mary Owen

Believing students deserve a healthy start to the new school year, the local YMCA is stepping up to help them get it at the upcoming Back to School Fair.

Sponsored by Friends of the Family, the fair is open to students of public, private and home schools who live within the boundaries of the North Santiam School District. The event takes place 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22 at Stayton Middle School.

Lisa Eckis, coordinator for the YMCA Healthy Kids program, noted the organization was expanding a national campaign that usually takes place in spring.

“We partnered with the city of Stayton for a free swim at the Stayton pool for Healthy Kids Day,” she said of the April 18 event. “We chose to expand the outreach of the program to the Back to School Fair since it is a venue and partnership that fits well together.”

Kim Fredericks, who is coordinating the fair for Friends of the Family, expects larger numbers of students to attend the event because of the economic downswing most families are experiencing.

“The child must live in the district and be present to receive free school supplies,” she said.
Eckis said the YMCA plans to have vendors and fun activities that show families and kids a healthy way to live, and “provide them with information and services available to them to achieve a healthier life for themselves.”

“Health is something that is so important to not only kids, but their entire family,” she said. “Living a healthy and active life will only benefit everyone in all aspects of their life.”

The YMCA wants to raise awareness regarding this issue, and bring kids and families together while striving for healthy lives, Eckis said.

“The YMCA believes in a healthy mind, spirit and body for everyone,” she said. “Kids need to stay active! They need to try different kinds of activities in their young lives, and find the ones they love to do.”

Sports, arts, music – all promote a healthier lifestyle, she added.

“We as adults and parents need to promote health by teaching healthy eating habits to go along with a healthy lifestyle,” Eckis said. “I would love to see a lot less boxes of cookies and doughnuts coming to our youth sports events as team treats, and more fruits and healthy snacks for the kids to enjoy.”

The Back to School Fair will also offer a bicycle rodeo at SHS, courtesy of the Stayton Police Department.

There will be a clothing give-away at Foothills Church just a few blocks north.

Friends of the Family still seeks donations of school supplies such as pencils, scissors, color markers and paper along with backpacks and/or money to purchase these items.

“Without the financial support and donations we receive from the community, we would not be able to continue this event,” Fredricks said. “We gave out school supplies to approximately 400 children last year, and we expect more this year.”

To donate or for more information on the Friends of the Family’s Back to School Fair, call Fredricks at 503-859-1750.

To participate in the YMCA Healthy Kid outreach, call 503-769-2963 or mail@wvi.com.

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