SUmmer program teaches children heatlhy habits, place to cool off

FRESNO — Children in southwest Fresno will have the opportunity to participate in activities focused on promoting healthy lifestyles as well as obesity prevention this summer at the Fink-White Neighborhood Center.

“It’s a really good program. It will keep him busy over the summer instead of watching TV at home,” said Felicia Pérez of taking her 9-year-old son Nathan Nelson to the center.

Pérez lives one block away from the neighborhood center.

With the slogan ‘Splash Into a Safe and Healthy Summer,’ the center, which also opened its learner pool last week, will have a series of daily summer activities to promote healthy eating as well as how to stay active for children and their families.

The summer program run by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County is possible thanks to a $20,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente Fresno. The grant will allow the Boys & Girls Club to offer nutritious snacks and physical activities Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the center.

The program’s goal is to help not only the children attending the program but also their families about the importance of staying healthy and preventing childhood obesity, which has become a big problem nationwide.

“From providing them with healthy snacks each day to teaching them about the importance of staying active, we hope they will adopt a healthier lifestyle,” said Diane Carbray, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County.

Some of the activities children will be doing at Fink-White Neighborhood Center includes circuit-station training, arts and crafts projects, cooking demonstrations and a summer reading program.

Carbray said some of the classes being offered to children and their families focused on healthy meal planning which will teach the dangers of obesity and diabetes.

Pérez said she doesn’t cook with a lot of vegetable at home, but she is glad the program will teach her son “healthy things to eat instead of candy and cookies.”

The activities are free, but children must be a registered member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County.Pérez, who just registered her son last week as a member of the Boys & Girls Club, said the center offers a “safe environment. A positive place for him to go and have fun.”

The center will also offer free morning swim lessons from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Carbray said.

Having this kind of program at the Fink-White center is very important, Carbray said.She said children living near the center usually don’t have a pool in their backyard, “this is their backyard, especially when the day is so hot.”

“Kids come out, join and get in the pool too,” Carbray said of inviting all children to take advantage of this summer opportunity.The center’s learner and wading pools will be open 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. all week for children under the age of 12 to use now through Aug. 18.

Three other learner pools in the city of Fresno — Einstein, Quigley and Romain neighborhood centers — also opened for swimming on June 17 thanks to a $60,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente Fresno to restore a city’s summer swim program at those four locations. Free morning swim lessons will also be provided at these three locations.According to Kerri Leedy, media relations specialist for Kaiser Permanente Fresno, the four learner pools that opened last week have been closed for the last four summers because of budget cuts.

And thanks to the PG&E’s Summer Jobs Program, funding was provided to train and staff lifeguards at the four pools.Details: Fink-White Neighborhood Center, 535 S. Trinity (near Amador and Whitesbridge Avenue in southwest Fresno). (559) 621-2900.

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