Members from the BCG's Bryn Mawr Clubhouse at Bryn Mawr Elementary School in Loma Linda began participating in a walking program with Loma Linda University that deals with childhood obesity and the benefits of walking and learning about healthy food choices.
The goal is to encourage participants - about 15 kindergarten and first-graders and 18 to 20 second- and fifth-graders - to walk thousands of steps a day; 12,000 for female participants and 15,000 for males.
They're able to track how many steps they take, whether they are at school, at the clubhouse or at home and while participating in games and activities, said Janice Jackson, site director for the Bryn Mawr clubhouse.
LLU professionals will also teach healthy eating choices and how to make good food choices for their age group, Jackson said.
"Staff will be helping our kids by providing knowledge and insight," she said.
Ultimately, the group will put on an event as part of a service learning program some time in April.
Jackson said it might be a walking event for the community.
"The kids will be doing all the planning, and the staff at Loma Linda University will be helping them come up with the idea," she said. "The kids will have a big role in planning the event once they've learned how."
The $1,000 grant was made possible through UnitedHeathcare, which granted $6,000 worth of grants to youth organizations in southern California that addressed childhood obesity.
The organization's goal is to support creative efforts to battle obesity.
"Obesity is a huge problem in the Inland Empire, so this program ... and Loma Linda University and the Boys & Girls Club working together is one step in fighting obesity," said Mark Davis, vice president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Redlands.
The idea for the program was given to the nonprofit organization by a parent who thought the program would be a good one to implement for the Loma Linda clubhouse.
The noncompetitive program is not only a chance to get children motivated, but also encourages participants to get their families involved in the fun.
"The parents were excited ... and look forward to it," said Jackson. "And the kids have been excited about it and are highly motivated with our staff who are highly motivated as well."
Part of the effort was to encourage girls to be more active, she added. Especially the ones who weren't into the sports programs offered at the facility.
"But any child can do it," she said. "It is easy to do."
To learn more about the program or the Boys & Girls Clubs of Redlands, visit begreatie.org.
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