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Kids get big dose of fun, health tips at Hobart ‘Y’

Jose Berrum (right) 6 Hobart tries his hone games during recent Healthy Kids Day event Hobart YMCA as KaylAcevedo 7

Jose Berrum (right), 6, of Hobart, tries his hand at one of the games during the recent Healthy Kids Day event at the Hobart YMCA, as Kayla Acevedo, 7, looks on. | Sue Ellen Ross~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 22, 2014 5:55PM



HOBART — The mission of the annual spring Healthy Kids Day at the Hobart YMCA is to promote physical movement throughout the summer, a critical out-of-school time for children.

This year’s event proved to be right on the mark, as hundreds of families took part in games, a swimming session and other activities.

“One in every three children living in the United States is obese,” YMCA senior program director Sharon Tarry said. “This statistic, coupled with the fact that once summer hits, children will be more idle, demonstrates why it’s important to help families develop healthy habits now.”

The community event found hundreds of residents visiting more than 40 vendors in the YMCA gymnasium.

“This has always been a popular spring event for families around here, but this year’s attendance is over the top,” said Janey Lariman, of Hobart, as she waited for the shuttle bus in the parking lot at the Cressmore Country Club. “My kids are more than excited and so am I.”

YMCA bus driver Bari Siwy made numerous round trips during the morning and noted the benefits of the fair.

“This is the first year we’ve had to shuttle people, but there’s no parking left near the YMCA and this is our alternative,” she said, as her bus, named “Casper,” dropped off yet another load of families. “There’s so much to do, everyone wants to be here for the fun today.”

The focus of Healthy Kids Day is to assist parents in taking on summer by developing steps to ensure their children stay physically and intellectually active, according to Tarry.

“As part of the Y’s commitment to healthy living through YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, our goal is to improve the health and well-being of kids and inspire habits they can continue into adulthood,” Tarry said.

Leslie Pruitt brought her granddaughter Savannah Tyl, 6, to the morning’s festivities. Savannah attends the YMCA’s preschool program.

“I like the fact that they’re teaching the children healthy food choices at such a young age,” Pruitt said. “And parents are realizing the importance of following through.”

Indeed, healthy snacks in the cafeteria were enjoyed by all the visitors, adults and children alike.

“I liked the peanut butter and crackers the best,” Jeremy Holiday, 8, said after he finished off his carrots and celery sticks. “My mom said healthy foods are good for us, and I think I like them. It’s fun to try.”

The Hobart Kiwanis and the Hobart Police Department set up a table for children’s identification cards. They were photographed and fingerprinted as weight and height measurements were taken.

“What a wonderful idea to have this kind of card for our kids. You never know when you might need it,” said Keri Ulman, of Hobart. “I’ve never seen this before, but having the I.D. card is great to have in case of an emergency. These people think of everything.”

While perusing the vendor area, parents heard about the newest advancements in health care and had an opportunity for a chair massage, compliments of Broadway Stress Clinic in Merrillville.

Children learned about proper recycling techniques, picked up a few books, compliments of Tri-Kappa sorority, and went home with new toothbrushes and floss from many of the dental clinics represented.

“It’s always fun to get a new toothbrush, and I’m learning how to floss,” said Jimmy Latrell, 7, of Gary. “I even got a little tube of my own toothpaste.”

Hobart and Merrillville’s fire departments staged a fire drill, with participants learning how to exit a home on fire in the EDITH (Exit Drills In The Home) HOUSE.

“Get low and go,” said EMT Dennis McGee, of the Merrillville Fire Department. “Do not crawl; slide down the stairs — you’ll stay below the smoke.”

For more information about activities at the Hobart Family YMCA, call 942-2183 or visit www.hobartymca.org.



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