April 01, 2016

Free, family-friendly event aims to improve the well-being of local kids and families.  

ORLANDO, FL– While summer brings a welcomed break from the busy school year, it also poses a challenge for many families who worry about their kids’ safety, health and well-being when the school year ends.

In offering quality solutions, the YMCA of Central Florida is joining with Ys across the nation to host Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 30. This free, family-friendly event, locally sponsored by Publix Super Market Charities, will offer games, arts and crafts, health screenings, family Zumba and yoga classes, pool safety tips, healthy cooking demos and more.

Hosted at more than 25 local YMCA Family Centers, Healthy Kids Day will also provide information and resources to help families keep their kids active, learning and well-supervised during the summer months.

“Research shows that when the school year ends, many children lose the academic gains they made during the school year,” said Shannon Matthews, YMCA Vice President of Youth Development and Education. “Due to inactivity, kids also tend to gain weight two to three times faster.”

To combat summer weight gain and brain drain, Y summer camp programs combine reading, hand-on learning, active outdoor play and a chance to explore special talents and interests, including robotics, music, arts, drama and sports.

Matthews said Y summer camp programs also provide peace of mind for working families, especially those who are in greatest of need quality, affordable child care. “At the Y, we know that parents’ top concerns are the health and safety of their children,” Matthews said. “Through Healthy Kids Day, we let families know that the Y is here for them – during the summer and rest of the year – to help kids reach their fullest, healthiest potential.”

During Healthy Kids Day, parents will have a chance to sign up for Y summer camp programs, as well as save up to $150 when they join the Y by April 30.

For more information about Healthy Kids Day, the Y’s summer camp programs or to find a Y Neighborhood Family Center near you, visit www.ymcacentralflorida.org or call (407) 896-9220.    

Facts About Summer Weight Gain & Brain Drain 

INACTIVITY DRIVES OBESITY

  • One-third of Florida children are obese or overweight.
  • Children tend to gain weight two to three times faster over the summer due to greater inactivity.
  • Diabetes has doubled in children and tripled in teens over the past 30 years.

KIDS WHO DON’T KEEP UP WITH SUMMER LEARNING FALL FURTHER BEHIND EACH YEAR

  • With fewer opportunities for summer learning, low-income kids tend to be even further behind their peers when the school year begins.
  • By fifth grade, some wind up two to three grade levels behind and are never able to close the achievement gap.
  • In Florida, only 46% of low-income children read at grade level.

LACK OF QUALITY CHILD CARE CONTRIBUTES TO JUVENILE CRIME

  • Latchkey kids represent one-third of all child welfare complaints.
  • Afternoons are peak times for juvenile crime.
  • Eighth-graders who spend 11 hours per week alone are twice as likely to abuse drugs.

About the YMCA of Central Florida
The YMCA of Central Florida is one of the area’s largest nonprofits committed to strengthening communities across Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard and Marion counties and the local communities it serves. It is a diverse organization of men, women and children joined by a shared commitment to Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. Each day 35,000 Central Florida residents are impacted by the Y when a mentor inspires a child, individuals make healthy choices and a community comes together for common good. In 2015, this YMCA Association of over 1,800 employees across 6 Florida counties impacted over 235,000 residents and invested, during a challenging economy, $10.2 million in its local communities. The YMCA of Central Florida also provided $5.3 million in financial assistance to children and families, which supported lasting personal and social change.