YFACE started the “Healthy Kids First Program” in 2008 out of a growing and alarming increase of obesity and juvenile diabetes in our children. Our communities are plagued by youth with poor diets, poor eating habits and lack of adequate or not physical activity, that have led to diseases once prevalent among adults.
I read about the problem and heard all over even the national news, but what really made me take notice when some of the kids, right in YFACE / Youth For A Cleaner Environment, started having health issues. I noticed kids around me as young as 10, 12, and older teens with health issues such as high blood pressure, juvenile diabetes, overweight, heart problems, depression etc.
I was shocked and said “oh no, this can’t be”. Out of this concern I got on board with the former Mayor Otis Johnson’s “ Healthy Savannah Program” I met other people with like minds about a healthy city as a whole, but my heart was for the children. I and about five other ladies joined forces and met weekly and formed the “Savannah Food Collaborative” which led to forming and starting the Historical Forsyth Farmers Market in Forsyth Park in 2009. From there I started the Healthy Pavilion, which I wanted to target the kids, but it took a different turn at that time.
So in February, 2009, ( February, which is Heart month ) I thought about doing a “Kids Luv Your Heart Walk” We started at Lake Mayer for two years and decided,” well we want to reach out to more kids, to increase the awareness of this epidemic. So on to Forsyth we headed. Also, we decided to start a health fair along with it. So I reached out to some of the health agencies that supported us at the Healthy Pavilion at the Forsyth Farmers Market, and they were excited to come on board. That year, 2011, we had 15 to come on board, then in 2012 and present, we had over 30 health agencies and providers to participate.
The mission of this event is to continue to heighten awareness in the community of obesity among our children is serious and definitely need to be dealt with. There are many agencies, businesses and organizations, etc. that agree and the support through in-kind donations and sponsorship, regardless of how small and how large, makes a statement that says “No. Enough is enough. We got to help our kids.” Helping them will help us too as adults, because even myself I have a weight problem and trying to eat right, don’t eat fried foods, but am a weakling to sweets. 2. Increase the number of youth who will in turn educate and influence their families to adopt healthy lifestyle practices. I saw an ad somewhere said that they wonder why the choice is so easy to choose something like burgers and fries over healthy snacks, is because you can get a dollar meal and pay a fortune to eat healthy. So it takes the “whole village” so to speak to combat this obesity problem.3. Finding a way to make eating and being healthy affordable for everyone, especially those on fixed income.
*Peach State Health Plan will be back this year with their new healthy food truck. They will give out fresh fruits and veggies to the walking participants. Peach State Health Plan is also one of our sponsors for this 9th Annual Event.
*One of our new sponsors is S&K Services, owner Shawntray Grant.( self employed caterer) Shawn is also our DJ for the 3rd year.
* Some of the fun activities at the event will be dance groups and the famous and a kids favorite the hula hoop contest and the jump rope contest.
We want to show kids that getting involved in some type of physical activity can be beneficial to them and lots of fun at the same time.
1. “Tsuyoki Ryu Karate Do” – Nathan Sanders
2. The Peruvian Roots Dance Group of Savannah – Iris Sarria
3. Rebecca Pagett Dance Group – Anekia Boatwright
4.Abeni Cultural Arts – Muriel Miller
*The event kicks off at 9am with the National Anthem sang by one of our local students. (not yet confirmed ) and the puppet ministry of Calvary Baptist Church will have their military puppets in the background, while the National Anthem is being sanged.
*The Lord’s Prayer – will be sunged by Ashely Poole of Calvary Baptist Church of the Hallelujah Performing Arts Team
• The walk will be led by Savannah State Tigers ( drum section) . The drummers will lead the kids around the park with high energy!!! The health fair and entertainment will began at 10:05am when the walkers return ( walk only around Forsyth Park)
* There will be live music on hand. Our DJ is Shawntray “Puff” Gray. Who was excited to participate, because he loves kids and love working with and supporting non-profit organizations,
* A new company in Savannah Pacific – Cycle Inc. ( a division of Dorel Sports Industries ) will do a healthy bike giveaway to children who participate in the walk ( 4 bikes )
* Yes tell the readers we will have shapes of Heart and the Earth posted around the park. There will be 6 of each. The one who finds the heart or earth can redeem it for a gift.
* Also, FREE School Supplies to the first 100 kids who complete the walk and the health fair
* Free Bike Helmets sponsored “Heads for Helmets” of SPIVA LAW GROUP
The Kappas Epsilon Psi Military Fraternity and Sorority will be back with us again this year.
* BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND !!! the Savannah Veggies and Vegans
*Also there will be a cooking demonstration for kids ( parents too) presented by Paola Aladana & Rachel Cooper/ Savannah Veggies and Vegan. She will be showing kids and parents how to prepared great after school healthy snacks or anytime snacks.
GREAT FAMILY FUN!!!