Kids in Motion -- KWC students help kids exercise

By Dariush Shafa, Messenger-Inquirer

Education majors at Kentucky Wesleyan College are reaching out to children in the Owensboro community as part of a service project, teaching them how to live healthier through activity and education.

Jason Crandall, a visiting professor of physical education and health, initially started the program while he was at the University of Utah in that school's exercise and sports science division. The goal, Crandall said, was to get students out into the community to do some good.

As a result, Crandall said, the Kids in Motion project is now in place at five locations throughout Owensboro, including Foust and Estes elementary schools, the Owensboro Family YMCA, the Cliff Hagan Boys and Girls Club and Girls Incorporated.

"We wanted them to get out in the community (to help offer wellness programs at places that can't implement them)," Crandall said. "This class is meant to teach them major health topics."

Topics like those are important in communities such as Owensboro, where young people can be taught early how to make good choices about their health, Crandall said. At the same time, the students learn how to identify and address local problems.

"It opens their eyes to the health issues out there in the community," Crandall said. "The sites we put them at, these kids are in need (for some help).

At schools such as Foust and Estes, as well as the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club, children work on programs aimed at getting them active, but also at the same time with a learning aspect.

This semester, 30 KWC students took part in the project and 33 will take part next semester.

The students from KWC act as facilitators and teachers.

"Without facilitators, it doesn't matter how good the curriculum is," said Chris Covington, Family Resource Center coordinator at Foust. "You get some academic work in with the activity."

At Girls Inc., the lessons have focused on making sure the children know how to stay safe, especially when it comes to such things as bullying about body weight, cyberbullying and sexual harassment, said Tish Correa-Osborne, CEO of Girls Inc.

"We got really good people to come from the college to be mentors, facilitators and instructors," Correa-Osborne said. "This is really real to them and they want to learn more."

At the same time, the education part isn't boring or tedious, which would make it less effective.

"The main thing we try to do is incorporate physical activity and fun," said KWC elementary education senior Ashley Eberhard.

The KWC education students taking part in the project said they learned throughout the process as well.

"(It's getting) a reality check of what the students are going through," said Brittany Setters, an elementary education senior. "I think it's awesome that we're working with these kids who need it the most."

Covington said the best part is seeing how the children at the schools react to the lessons

"It's amazing to watch how the kids have responded," Covington said. "They (the KWC students) have really done a good job of making the kids confident."

Crandall said he'd like to see the project expand, as it did in Utah. At its peak, it would include elderly residence facilities and other locations, covering the population from young to old.

Photo: Foust Elementary School’s Deja Jones, 9, right, keeps in rhythm with Kentucky Wesleyan College’s Tina Kirk of Versailles as Brooklyn Greathouse, left, and Rose Barrows, both 9, dance to the song “Electric Slide” on Thursday during the Kids in Motion project at Foust’s cafeteria. The college students act as facilitators for the physical fitness initiative. John Dunham, Messenger-Inquirer


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