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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Healthy Families: The More, The Better

By Jen Thomas
12:00AM / Sunday, March 04, 2007

Allyson Civello, 2, concentrated on a "slinky" during a March 2 Healthy Families Night. [Photo by Jen Thomas]
North Adams - An evening of fun and games trumped a dark and dismal late winter trek according to the area families who attended a March 2 "Healthy Families Night" at the St. Anthony’s Parish Center.

Sponsored by a collaboration of Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc. and the REACH Community Health Foundation, the event relied on health-focused booths, live entertainment, interactive activities, and free food to deliver resources and information to local families.

National Nutrition Month


The "T-shirt kids" gathered for a photo opportunity during the health-focused event. [Photo by Jen Thomas]
“Since March is National Nutrition Month, we held a health and safety resource fair for parents,” said co-organizer Sharon Leary, the community health advocate for the REACH Foundation.

“It’s an opportunity for families to meet other families in a healthy environment,” said Amy Hall, the program director for Child Care of the Berkshires.

Along with Colleen Cutler, Rebecca "Becky" Krysiak and Carol Betti of Child Care of the Berkshires, Leary and Hall resurrected “Healthy Families Night” after a 5-year lapse. The popular event was eliminated due to insufficient funding and “fell by the wayside temporarily,” explained Hall.

"Any Information Is Useful"

With help from area donors, including $500 from Stop & Shop, the planning committee was able to launch the resource fair.

Julie Pedroni ventured to the fair with her daughter, 2-year-old Beatrice Pedroni, so the toddler could enjoy the festivities and interact with children.

Emma Arnold, 14 months old, and her mother Tracie Arnold participated during the children's games. [Photo by Jen Thomas]


“It sounded like it would be fun,” she said. “And any information you can get on health is useful.”

Get Moving!

A contingent of energetic children participated in a Northern Berkshire Healthcare exercise challenge. Gym-length races, timed trials that required balance and dexterity for one-foot hopping and ambition for running in place, and lively rope-jumping competitions delivered action-packed lessons about physical activity.

Participants received REACH T-shirts, and other assorted goodies, including slinkies, magnets and stickers.


Event organizers, from left, Sharon Leary, Amy Hall,Colleen Cutler,Rebecca Kysiak, and Carol Betti [Photo by Jen Thomas]
Representatives from Tapestry Health Systems, Foster and Adoptive Parent Recruitment, WIC Programs, and Family Support Programs lined the interior parish center walls and distributed pamphlets on smoking cessation programs, nutrition, and hygiene.

“It’s great they do something like this,” said Aleta Moncecchi of Berkshire County Head Start. Karen LaBombard, Deborah "Debbie" Collins, and Moncecchi promoted the pre-school education programs and detailed the healthy significance of teaching proper dental care to young children.

“If parents wait until their children are in elementary school to take them to the dentist, it’s way too late,” Collins said.

Terry a la Berry and his Friends performed music that generated a get-up-and-dance response. Berry, of David Grover and the Big Bear Band fame, entertained with a concert of original children’s songs.

The More Who Know, The Better

“Everyone seems to be having a good time,” said Betti and noted that the weather was a likely catalyst for the small crowd.

Justin Cooper, 2, found a football was to his liking during a Healthy Families Night. [Photo by Jen Thomas]


“It’s slower than we expected, but the people who came got something out of it,” said Hall. “The more people who know about our programs, the better.”

Child Care of the Berkshires’ mission is “to promote and strengthen families through the provision of high quality child care services to families whose parents are working or in training or, for any number of reasons, cannot adequately care for the children as well as other types of social and educational services which directly affect families and their well-being,” according to a www.ccberkshire.org Internet web page.

The REACH Community Health Foundation promotes healthy practices through initiatives in health education, treatment services, disease prevention, research, and advocacy. Additional information is offered at a www.nbhealth.org/REACH Internet web site.

Jen Thomas is a senior at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and an iberkshires.com correspondent.
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If you suspect a food allergy, you can get tested... Cell Science Systems providers of the Alcat™ test for food and chemical sensitivity, recently reported significant results from a 100 patient survey that indicates an 80% improvement for the alleviation of fatigue and IBS after patients implemented dietary changes indicated by results of the ALCAT food panel test.
from: Lee Rolnickon: 03-06 00:00:00-2007


 
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