The Bloomington community came together to make a stand and offer a helping hand. About 300 volunteers from the community joined in a collaborative effort with IU Health Bloomington, The Bloomington Project School and the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department to pave a way for children in Third Street Park.
“One in five people in our country have a safe place to play so we’re working to end this play deficit by bringing play right back into the lives of communities across the country,” said Kenny Altenburg, Project Manager with KABOOM. IU Health Bloomington is one of fourteen hospitals that participated in the statewide day of community service.
President and CEO Mark Moore said the theme of the day was taking a stand against childhood obesity. “It’s an increasingly alarming statistic that more and more adolescents are obese and studies have shown that the arteries of an obese child are similar to a middle aged person,” Moore said.
According to the educational research group, CEEP, the number of obese children in the U.S. has doubled over the last 20 years. “It is vitally important with children’s future health to be balanced in weight and to be active in their lifestyles but it starts at home,” he said.
“For our students we have an outside recess every day for 30 minutes K-8,” said Catherine Diersing, School Leader Bloomington Project School. “We think it’s important that, exercise not stop at a certain age level and a commitment that all schools make it as a part of their school day.”
Sandy Pate a parent volunteer said in addition to encouraging kids to be active, she thinks it’s essential to teach basic wellness and health. “The school is such a wonderful opportunity for my children and for so many children in Bloomington,” Pate said. “Whatever the school needs to succeed I want to contribute my part.”
The students will be able to play on the new playground within 72 hours.