On May 17, nearly 300 students at Governor John Fairfield School in Saco participated in the second annual Walk-A-Thon event to raise funds for the Fairfield PTO and promote physical activity among students and their families. The event was held in coordination with Let’s Go! York County and featured “Redy,” the Let’s Go! mascot.
Over the course of Friday afternoon around 280 kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders took part in back-to-back walking sessions along a route circling Pepperell Park, between the school and Beach Street. Students walked a mile or more depending on how many laps their grade completed. Volunteers stood along the route to ensure student safety, and “Redy” walked one full lap with each age group. After completing their walk, each student received a “5-2-1-0 Every Day” water bottle provided by Southern Maine Medical Center (SMMC). The central message of the statewide Let’s Go! program, 5-2-1-0, stands for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity, and 0 sugary drinks.
“The students and parent volunteers had a blast. Everyone felt successful,” said Karen MacKenzie, second grade teacher and one of the event’s organizers. In addition to promoting physical activity, the Walk-A-Thon is a sponsored fundraiser for the Fairfield School PTO. This year’s sponsors included Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution, Belleco Food Equipment, and Bangor Savings Bank. “One hundred percent of the profits go directly back to the PTO to help fund programs such as Junk-to-Funk, visiting authors, field trips, greenhouse education, playground equipment, and much more,” said MacKenzie. In addition to her roles as teacher and PTO supporter, MacKenzie also serves as the Let’s Go! champion for Fairfield School. Van Beckman, SMMC program coordinator for Let’s Go! York County, said of the event: “Fairfield’s 2013 Walk-A-Thon was a big success for school wellness and big fun for those involved. The students and parents really seemed to enjoy getting out and being active on such a gorgeous day, and the kids loved seeing Redy!”
Southern Maine Medical Center, a member of MaineHealth, is working to counter the childhood obesity epidemic through implementation of the Let’s Go! program in the Arundel, Biddeford, Buxton, Dayton, Hollis, Lyman, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach, and Saco communities. This regional initiative, called Let’s Go! York County, is going into its third year of operation. The program includes work in schools, early childhood programs, after school programs, health care programs, and workplaces.
Let’s Go! is a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program. The goal of Let’s Go! is to increase physical activity and healthy eating for children from birth to 18 years of age through policy and environmental change. Let’s Go! works in six sectors to reach families where they live, study, work and play to reinforce the importance of healthy eating and getting physical activity. A program of The Kids CO-OP at The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center, Let’s Go! is implemented in partnership with MaineHealth. Let’s Go!, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have engaged in a public-private partnership to improve the health of youth and families through the work of the Healthy Maine Partnerships and the regional MaineHealth hospital systems. As a member of MaineHealth, SMMC is part of a not-for-profit family of leading high-quality providers and other healthcare organizations working together so their communities are the healthiest in America. For more information on Let’s Go!, please visit www.letsgo.org.
About Southern Maine Medical Center
Southern Maine Medical Center (SMMC) is a national award-winning healthcare system, including an acute care medical center licensed for 150 beds in Biddeford, Maine, offering excellent clinical care and a multi-specialty physician services group with medical offices providing outpatient care located in Biddeford, Kennebunk, Old Orchard Beach and Saco. Non-emergency care is available without an appointment seven days a week at SMMC’s Walk-In Care center in Saco. SMMC is Joint Commission accredited, Pathway to Excellence designated, state-licensed, and is a member of Southern Maine Health Care and the MaineHealth system. To learn more visit www.smmc.org or @smmcHealth.