Troy program aims to get kids up and moving

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lawanda Bell is a firm believer that any great journey starts with a single step.

Children who spend time at the Christian Love Community Center take part in fun exercise activities as part of the “Get Fit Kidz” program.

Bell is spearheading an initiative called “Get Fit Kidz,” a program geared toward getting Troy children active in an effort to end childhood obesity.

“I did some studying and found out that Alabama is the second most obese state in the nation,” said Bell. “If we can get younger children to begin exercising and eating right, it will be second nature when they get older.”

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The program is housed under the umbrella of the Christian Love Community Center, located on Segar Street, and is a non-profit organization.

Since the organization is non-profit, they seek help through donations and the willingness of the community to help.

Bell has organized bike rides for children, community walks and kickball games to get members of the community up and moving.

“We go out sometimes and just walk through the woods,” said Bell. “The walks get them up and moving, and it also gives them experiences that they have not had before.”

Bell also said that exercising is just one part of the journey. The other part begins with eating right.

Earlier this year, Bell and children of the community planted a garden, with the help of Rev. Green of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. Green came by the center every afternoon to water the plants and at the end of the growing season the children were able to take home tomatoes.

“I worked at McDonald’s at one time,” said Bell. “When I began working there I was a size eight, and when I left I was a 16. The more ‘better’ food they eat, the better it works out.”

Bell, a former contestant on American Idol and The Voice, also used music as a way to get the children up and moving for exercise. Bell wrote a song and taught it to the kids. They now sing the song while exercising, and Bell said she has even heard it in other places.

“I will be in the grocery story sometimes – and hearing the children sing it – it just makes me smile,” said Bell. “I can’t believe they are so excited about getting fit.”

While the program is currently centered on children, Bell wants to involve the community of Troy and eventually the nation.

For more information on getting involved, contact Bell at the Christian Love Community Center.