Encouraging healthy lifestyles at Pearl River Central

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pearl River Central health and science student Parker Ball checks the blood pressure of Beverly Griffing at Thursday’s health fair. Photo by Cassandra Favre

Pearl River Central health and science student Parker Ball checks the blood pressure of Beverly Griffing at Thursday’s health fair.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

Thursday, dozens of students, their families and members of the community attended the Pearl River Central School District’s fourth annual Family Health Fair.
Food Service Director Sheila Amacker and Curriculum Coordinator Kimberly Alford serve as co-coordinators of the district’s wellness program.
According to previous Item coverage, this program is derived from the State Department of Education and is aimed at enhancing a student’s total wellness, which includes spiritual, emotional, physical, nutritional and community involvement.
There were more than 24 booths set up at the fair, and an outdoor obstacle course.
District bus drivers conducted school bus safety tours and local first responders gave participants a tour of the fire truck and spoke about fire safety.
Representatives from local companies including Sam’s Club, Smoothie King, Picayune Taekwondo, Sherral’s Diner, Picayune Smiles, Manna Ministries SNAP, Riser’s Medical Center and many more attended the fair to inform participants about healthy practices.
Guest chef Michael Williamson of Marketing Agents South, demonstrated how to prepare smoked chicken. Guests sampled the chicken as well as whole grain zucchini bread.
Stacie Lee and Sandy Sherrer are dental hygienists with Picayune Smiles and promoted dental health at Thursday’s event.
“Most children don’t know how to properly clean their teeth,” Lee said. “They consume sugary drinks and foods and we are here to encourage good home dental care.”
Cari MacDonald is a nurse practitioner at Riser Medical Center in Picayune and she and fellow nurse practitioner Carla Penton discussed pediatric wellness with parents and students.
“We discuss ways the children can handle stress and how stress affects our health,” MacDonald said. “We have healthy snack examples and a health scavenger hunt. The children can find answers to the questions at the other booths. When you promote healthy habits at a young age, it stays with them for life. Without these practices, they have a greater chance of being an unhealthy adult.”
Virgil and Lisa Matthews brought their grandchildren, Kensleigh and Kiera Pittman to Thursday’s fair.
“It’s for the school to promote good health because the students can see the benefits,” Virgil said. “I’ve been a smoker for the past 52-years and they have a booth here that explains the consequences. I stress the practice of non-smoking to all young people.”
Nine-year-old Kiera said that the people at the health fair showed them how to take of themselves and other people.
“If you’re not healthy, you’ll get really sick,” Kiera said.
PRC High School Assistant Principal Tara White brought her two children, Trey and Ava, to the health fair.
Six-year-old Ava said that people get energy from exercise.
“It’s important to stay healthy and not do bad stuff and people shouldn’t smoke,” Ava said.
Assistant principal White said it’s important for students and their families to live a healthy lifestyle.
“It’s my hope that they will bring the healthier lifestyle back home to better the community,” White said.

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