Shouting, “Who Can? We Can!,” more than 500 adults and children gathered at a local park in Birmingham, Alabama, on September 22, to run, walk, and learn about healthy initiatives. Children, parents, senior citizens, radio personalities, city council members, the state deputy director of agriculture, and other community members cheered and encouraged each other to finish the race.
The focus of the Bethel Community Learning Center’s first We Can! 5K Run and Fun Walk was not on winning, but rather on experiencing the benefits of running, walking, and simply moving. Participants also had the opportunity to speak with health vendors about good nutrition and physical activity.
The race was the culmination of the learning center’s We Can! summer camp program, a partnership with the Alabama Department of Public Health and We Can! Alabama State Coordinator Molly Pettyjohn. With role models like the character Hearty Heart, campers of all ages spent the summer learning about the value of eating healthfully. For example, first graders painted colorful fruit- and vegetable-adorned t-shirts.
Middle school-aged campers had their own set of We Can! activities that included creating 3-D food pyramids out of cardboard, publishing their own cookbook full of healthy recipes, and producing their first We Can! public service announcement. Throughout the summer, campers also participated in a variety of fun activities at the gym including sack races, hula hoop, and tag.
We Can! and the We Can! logo are trademarks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
We Can! Families Finding the Balance: A Parent Handbook provides background information on the obesity epidemic and practical tools to help you and your family adopt a healthier lifestyle.
We Can! offers a variety of resources and materials, including a community toolkit, parent handbook, posters, print ads, and wristbands.