What Moves You Grant Winner: Amy Merritt

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Optimistic Kids EnergiZing is all about encouraging and teaching children ages 5 and up, that being healthy doesn’t have to be boring.  Working with Optimism Preventive Services, Inc., all of the children who participate in this exercise program will learn exercises that have been modified especially for them by a Zumba instructor so that they can get energized and have fun while doing it.  They will also learn about nutrition and how to properly choose the right foods to eat using the MyPlate system.  The ultimate goal is to encourage children in the community to form healthy eating and exercise habits which sets the tone for them to continue those habits as they grow into adulthood.  With all of the skills gained over the course of the program, the youth will learn that staying active and energized with good nutrition will make positive differences in their lives.

Through the “What Moves You” grant, Optimism has secured a partnership with a local Clemson Extension Service 4-H/Youth Development Coordinator to help guide in the area of nutrition for kids.  They will also be providing healthy food choices and snacks for the exercise program as well. Together we will implement meal guides and discuss the five food groups, the importance of drinking water, and how the wrong types of fats can contribute to negative health outcomes.  The daily food plan guide will show children what food groups are targeted as well as what and how much to eat with calorie allowance.  It is based on the youth’s age, gender, height, and physical activity level.  With the new EnergiZing Corner at Optimism getting a fresh makeover and the Zumba instructor more than eager to work with the youth, the kids are all set to break in their yoga mats and flex their bodies for energizing fun!

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By Amy Merritt

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