BLAINE - Students and their families will learn about the importance of farm-fresh food at school and at home during a "Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds" event Wednesday, Oct. 24.
The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gym and cafeteria at Blaine Elementary School, 836 Mitchell Ave.
Made possible with a $5,000 grant from Whatcom Community Foundation, and collaboration among a number of groups, including Let's Move Blaine, the event is the first of three this school year that aims to combat childhood obesity and teach healthy habits.
"You want to catch the crowd young before they're set in their ways," said Laurie Sween, program manager for Kids Take Heart, which is part of the Washington state nonprofit Hope Heart Institute.
Hope Heart, which focuses on heart research and education, has a number of programs that focus on school-age children and teens.
The other two "Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds" events will be in March and May.
Sween is among the organizers of "Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds" in Blaine.
Event organizers want to connect participants to area farmers, and to introduce them to CSAs, which are subscriptions where people pay in advance and then receive a weekly collection of available produce.
"We all know that we need to eat healthy, but I think we don't know how to eat healthy," said Dan Persse, who teaches physical education to grades 3 through 5 at Blaine Elementary.
Persse, who pushed for the Let's Move Blaine effort, became involved after calculating his students' body mass index and finding that about 38 percent were above healthy weight levels.
To Persse, Blaine is an example of the challenges that rural communities face.
In addition to information about local produce and a panel discussion with local farmers, the "Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds' event will feature such community organizations as the Boys & Girls Club and Northwest Park and Recreation District 2.
There also will be some physical activity, such as Zumba for kids.
Organizers hope to help students and families help themselves.
"I want change," Persse said. "I want people to understand and be educated and be familiar with what they should be doing."
- Contact Laurie Sween, Kids Take Heart program manager, at email@example.com. The program is part of Hope Heart Institute.
Reach KIE RELYEA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2234.