Youth Program Provides Home Away From Home
While you would think all children would be excited to be away from school this summer, many throughout the state continue to go.
It may be mid-July, but Hinton Area Elementary School is packed with around 20 students listening closely to their yoga instructor.
Instead of being stuck at home over their vacation, these kids are learning about nutrition, physical activity, cooperation and making friends. It's part of the REACHH program, which stands for Reaching Everyone to Assist in Creating Healthier Homes.
Ian Gardner will be entering sixth grade. This is his second year in the program. He says that he was originally unsure about some of the activities, especially yoga.
“Some stretches I did here were some stretches I thought I would break some part of my body for," Gardner says. "And today I started flexing and I was like ‘wow, this is cool.’ I mean I thought it was going to be boring and quite, but not so much."
But it’s not only physical activity Ian is learning. He’s also finding new ways to eat healthy. The program provides nutritional foods at breakfast and lunch.
Ian says that some of the food, which he refers to as the ‘good stuff,’ came as a surprise to him.
“I learned about some green foods that I never thought I would like, like peppers and stuff, they were green, the green peppers, and orange, I never thought they would be good, they just looked weird and they felt weird," Gardner says. "And then I came here and I was like ‘wow, it’s pretty good and it’s healthy, cause school feeds you healthy food.’”
Amanda Gill is the Summer Fun and After School coordinator for Reach Family Resource Center. It’s this appreciation that makes it worth it for people like her. She is currently going to school to be an elementary teacher.
“And to see some of these kids say, ‘wow, you care about me. You made a difference in my day and I really like coming to your program, it makes you feel important, and like you’re making a difference," she says.
The program continues during the schools year with after school tutoring and a free meal.
And for those of you who still aren’t convinced about yoga, Ian says that it is a nice experience. "There’s all kind of neat and cool poses that almost everybody would probably like so I encourage you to try it," he says.