TACOMA, Wash. - If it takes a village to raise a child, it might also take one to keep that child fit and healthy. That's the approach Tacoma is taking on Friday, as after-school programs and businesses participate in the second annual community health fair. At the "Hilltop Healthy Kids and Family Carnival," the underlying message is that fitness can be fun.
Robert Joyce, owner of Little Village Childcare and an organizer of the event this year and last, says they try to focus on getting kids moving.
"Some of the things we had were a karate-kick competition, a Wii video set-up, dancing, acting and a basketball hoop shoot."
Joyce says cities of any size can organize an event like this, as a good opportunity to bring schools, parents and the business community together. The event features a wide range of health-related topics. Dentists offer teeth cleaning there, and parents can pick up cooking tips and advice on healthy habits. He says this year's carnival will be even bigger than last year's.
"We have probably twice as many people involved this year as we had last year. That was key for us, to be able to pull all these groups together and work toward making this carnival happen."
Some of the after-school programs in the area use the weeks leading up to the health fair to reinforce the messages as part of their curriculum, he adds, and getting kids excited about it helps get their parents on board, as well.
"That's really important, to get them talking about it. There's no way for us to know that it had an impact, but we hope it does. It's about getting the information to the student and the parent, and letting them run with it."
The Hilltop Healthy Kids and Family Carnival is Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the People's Community Center, 1602 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma.