July 18, 2009
High temperatures are the norm in Tampa, Florida, where they’re getting fired up about We Can! thanks to a new community site.
After reading about We Can! in Scholastic magazine, Marisa Langford—a mother of two with a third on the way—became so excited about our curricula and messages that she incorporated We Can! into a one-day event to promote children’s exercise and healthy eating. The event, called “Fit Kids Playground,” was held in Tampa’s Hyde Park neighborhood on June 13.
“The purpose of this event was to educate and demonstrate programs and initiatives focused on keeping kids healthy and active,” said Langford. "We wanted to give parents a well-rounded view of what's available to them, and to inspire kids for life.''
Kids moved, jumping rope, dancing to music spun by a DJ, or taking toddler yoga. The local grocery store sponsored a Nutrition Alley, where parents and kids could talk to child nutritionist and sample healthy snacks. We Can! materials were available, and games from the P.E.P. Rally in a Box were promoted.
Langford, a sprint triathelete herself, felt that We Can!’s goals dovetailed so well with her own that she registered her company—the BluePrint Event Group—as an official We Can! community site after the event, which attracted some 1,000+ Tampa children and parents.
“The most important message for our parents is to be aware that if the child is growing and gaining more weight than height, to talk with their pediatrician," said Karen Donato, S.M., coordinator for overweight and obesity research applications at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to We Can!, dozens of other educational initiatives concerned with children’s health were represented, including programs from Tampa General and St. Joseph's hospitals, the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, and Tampa’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Now that her group is an official site, Langford hopes to take We Can! to local, metro-area venues including shopping malls and parks, and also launch other activities with local mothers.
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