Community center program sprouting new ideas in childrenPublished 11:00pm Thursday, April 4, 2013
Written by Gabrielle Pack, intern with The Messenger
With the vision of Pastor Samuel Green and participation from the students at Christian Love Community Development Center’s after school program and summer camp, young people in Pike County will soon have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Christian Love Community Development Center is a non-profit organization that believes in making a difference in the lives of children, youth and teens through encouraging, inspiring, and educating them. Part of the way that’s achieved is with the Get Fit Kidz program.
Get Fit Kidz is designed to increase the desire of children to become healthier and stay physically fit.
“The Get Fit Kidz program was put in place to raise awareness about obesity in our own youth,” said Lawanda Bell, youth coordinator of the community center.
The idea of a community youth garden came about because the current generation could be on a track of having shorter life spans than their parents, Bell shared. Along with the other side effects to a child’s health, childhood obesity imposes substantial economic cost, Bell said.
Bell noted that the childhood obesity epidemic in America is a national health crisis. According to the White House Task Force, one of every three children from ages 2-19 is overweight or obese and obesity is estimated to cause 112,000 deaths per year in the United States.
One-third of all children born in 2000 are expected to develop diabetes during their lifetime.
Pastor Samuel Green, of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, said that God gave him a vision to teach children how to grow a garden and to grow a connection with planting and healthier eating at a young age.
Green took on this project after his retirement and began putting all of his focus into preparing what fruits and vegetables the children will plant. He’s even begin to prepare the earth for the project.
“The school’s garden is among the most interesting of the units taught at the center. It sparks the interest of teens to observe or watch the food chain as they grow and eat their produce in everyday life,” Bell said.
Once the crops are done growing, all community youths are welcomed to enjoy as much of the produce as they like.
For more information about the community garden and the Get Fit Kidz program, contact Lawanda Bell at 334-566-5210.