Volunteers needed for a healthy cause

By Sydney Johnson - Contributing columnist
Sydney Johnson -

I am excited to announce that this year, Sampson County Cooperative Extension will be bringing Speedway to Healthy to Sampson County youth! Speedway to Healthy is a 1,200 square foot exhibit that takes students K-5 through a replica of the body. This walk-through exhibit is a creative educational tool to teach youth how the foods they eat affect their bodies and their health.

Speedway to Healthy is a project of 4-H Youth Development of the Cooperative Extension Program, a division of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T State University. The exhibit was developed as a resource to help fight childhood obesity and poor health among children in North Carolina. Childhood obesity is a widespread issue in the state and the nation. Unhealthy food choices, low physical activity, and other factors have resulted in alarming health facts. Educating our youth is one way we can help them make healthier choices throughout their lifetime.

This exhibit was designed to fit in with our Nascar state. Students race through the exhibit in groups of 10-12. In each pit stop, a volunteer educator engages children in a five-minute activity that focuses on healthy lifestyle choices and understanding the impact those behaviors have on the body. The exhibit experience begins at the starting-line pit stop where children are given a food identification sticker and taught the MyPlate model. After the starting-line session, the children (acting as pieces of food) proceed to the brain, the next pit stop on the Speedway to Healthy. There they learn how the brain functions and what they can do to keep it healthy. When the children leave the brain, they enter the mouth to learn proper brushing and flossing. They are then swallowed through the esophagus and land in the stomach. From the stomach they land in the small intestine where they enact being squeezed in small pieces as the nutrients they possess escape into the blood stream to be delivered throughout the body. Next, the children travel the path of the nutrients to the remaining pit stops: heart, lungs, kidney, bones, muscles and skin. Children exit the exhibit from the skin pit stop, via a cut in the skin.

The Speedway to Healthy exhibit will be held March 28th and March 29th at the Bellamy Center in Royal Lane Park. Schools will visit the exhibit during the day, and the exhibit will be open to the public youth in grades K-5 from 3-5 pm on March 28th. We welcome homeschool children, after school programs, or anyone who wants to bring elementary aged children to the exhibit. It is completely free We also need volunteers to help with this great event. We will need volunteers, at least 18 years old, to help set-up the exhibit on March 27th from 10 a.m-2 p.m. We also need volunteers to man pit stop stations. Volunteers can sign up for 1-hour time slots from 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on March 28th and March 29th, and 3-5 p.m. on March 28th. Station presenters must be aged 16 and up. You can volunteer for as little as one hour or for the whole event if you like.

We can’t wait to bring this exhibit to Sampson County. Please join us for this community event. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please call Sydney Johnson at the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center.

Sydney Johnson
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/web1_Johnson.jpgSydney Johnson

By Sydney Johnson

Contributing columnist

Sydney Johnson is an area family & consumer sciences extension agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

Sydney Johnson is an area family & consumer sciences extension agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.