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Friday, May 3, 2013

DC SCORES students learn healthy living behaviors with The Century Council

Photos by Tyler Allen, The Century Council
“Did you get your vegetables,” I asked, a bit concerned about the kid’s plate containing just a bite-size sandwich.

“I already ate them!” said the kid exuberantly, before turning to shoot some hoops.

I should have known. Throughout The Century Council’s seventh annual Take Your Kids to Work Day, students from three DC SCORES schools learned and demonstrated healthy behaviors that align with our partner’s mission of discouraging underage drinking and drinking and driving.

The Century Council generously invited DC SCORES to bring youth to the event on Capitol Hill for the third consecutive year, and students from H.D. Cooke Elementary School, Thomson Elementary School and Wheatley Education Campus had a great time playing all the games, eating healthy food, and meeting Olympian gold-medalist gymnast and Dancing with the Stars celebrity Aly Raisman and Ali Krieger of the Washington Spirit professional soccer team.

Around the large room, stations were set up where youth could shoot baskets, practice their accuracy throwing a football, roll Skeeball and get some serious exercise playing the Wii-like racing Ask Listen Learn video game where they ran on a pad and then answered questions about healthy behaviors such as "True or false: Drinking alcohol makes me look cool."

“Are you tired?” I asked Monyae L., decked out in his purple Wheatley Whales shirt, after he ran wild at the video game station.

He could only nod, but then caught his breath and told me his favorite healthy foods to eat.

“Broccoli, spinach, carrots, apples, oranges, bananas and V8 juice.”

In between stations throughout the event, students waltzed over to the snacks table to choose vegetables from the large array of corn stalks, asparagus, radishes, tomatoes, carrots and more. They still enjoyed the mini sandwiches, but the importance of eating the veggies wasn’t lost on them.

“Eat fruits and vegetables and don’t drink soda, drink water,” said Wheatley’s Darryl H. of how to live healthy.

The Century Council has been a tremendous partner of DC SCORES for over three years, funding our program with annual grants, inviting us to events such as this one, and even asking Program Director Cory Chimka to write guest blogs for them.

Chimka attended the event on the Hill and expressed his gratitude for a partner whose values align so well with those of DC SCORES.

“Year in and year out, The Century Council ensures DC SCORES participants are included alongside the sons and daughters of senators and house members during Take Your Kids to Work Day festivities,” Chimka said. “This illustrates not only The Century Council’s commitment to ensuring their mission of healthy living is accessible to youth throughout the District, but also the organization’s dedication to DC SCORES and other partners.”

For the 30 or so kids who got to visit the Hill, the day was one they won’t forget anytime soon. For an hour and a half, they were abuzz with energy as they moved from station to station – accumulating stickers for completing each one and "saying yes to a healthy lifestyle and no to underage drinking."

When the opportunity arose to get their picture taken with Raisman, the kids rushed up to the makeshift stage and posed with the gold-medalist, took pictures of her themselves, and asked her questions.

“That’s my best friend in a picture with Aly Raisman!” a student exclaimed.

Then it was back to shooting hoops, playing the Ask Listen Learn game (which many students identified as their favorite station), and eating those veggies. After all, it was Thursday – DC SCORES Game Day – and they had to treat their bodies right in preparation for playing soccer a couple hours later.

“I made sure to eat my vegetables this morning so we can beat ATA!” exclaimed a Wheatley Whales student about the school’s upcoming game against Arts and Technology Academy.

A few hours later, I stood watching H.D. Cooke play Seaton Elementary School on the soccer field. My jaw dropped as I watched Ariana R. weave her way with the ball between defenders up the field. She did this time and time again, picking herself up when tripped, never complaining and never, seemingly, getting tired.

I was amazed until I remembered what she had told me earlier about taking care of her body.

"When you eat a lot of breakfast and not like junk food," Ariana had said of eating well. "Vegetables are good for your body."

And help you play soccer better. 

Thanks to The Century Council for hosting DC SCORES at a great event and helping instill healthy values in District youth. 

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