Learn to Swim Program at Plainfield Area YMCA!

Two hundred grade school children from six different elementary schools participated in our learn to swim program this winter and spring. The success of the program centered around cooperation from the board of education and parental education and support. This is the second year of our Shaping NJ grant we have taught over 800 children how to swim.

That’s 800 children who will

  • Not drown at a local pool, amusement part our public beach
  • Have a lifelong skill they can use for exercise and recreation
  • Begin a positive cycle of next generation also learning how to swim
  • Help create a safer and healthier community
  • Develop self confidence to take on other life challenges and skills

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Our YMCA is committed to providing healthy physical activities to our young people before they develop serious life-long health problems that accompany obesity, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, asthma and depression. Young people need to learn to become comfortable in the water and learn to swim to protect themselves from the ever-present danger of drowning. Swimming relieves stress, improves mood, and is a recreational activity that young people enjoy.  Through swimming young people develop self awareness and self confidence, reinforcing lessons taught throughout YMCA activities. Developing these attributes is important to young people growing up in challenging environments, where belief in yourself can keep you away from gangs, drugs and other pervasive threats.

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Community Garden at YMCA Plainfield

Fifteen volunteers from Schering Plough participated in a volunteer community service day at the Plainfield YMCA. Their service included removal of old lockers, painting and replanting the community garden. The garden began with tomatoes, lettuce, and onions. After the first harvest the staff requested we plant different plants so the children could witness the growth of a variety of vegetables. The second planting encompassed sweet basil, bell peppers and celery.

Thanks to the volunteers from Schering Plough our children are growing a variety of vegetables and eating healthy foods. The children are preparing the vegetables they grow at the Watchung Presbyterian Church. Our summer program participants have the opportunity to learn the nutritional value of the foods they prepare as well as how to prepare foods in a healthy manner.

Common examples of baking vs. frying and seasoning vs. butter are taught by our cooking instructors.

Plainfield Area YMCA Community Garden Planting to Begin Next Week!

Planting begins next week. Our plants have been growing in our conference room for a week

The weather did not cooperate in April for successful planting of lettuce and tomatoes. Shawn Frazier (our staff  leadership on this project) and a group of 1st through 3rd graders will plant lettuce, carrots and onions next week. However we will plant tomatoes the week of May 25, 2014.

We choose lettuce, tomatoes onions and carrots with three concepts in mind.

  • These items are traditional salad ingredients enjoyed by most people.
  • They will grow well in the type of soil and sun light we have in our garden.
  • The nutritional value of these items are easy to explain and make good teaching tools for youth to understand why they are so good for their health.

Our  school age participants truly understand that foods such as potato chips and cheese burgers are high in fat, salt and calories which cause issues like obesity, high blood pressure and heart decease. In turn the introduction of low fat, salt and high fiber foods into your daily diet gives you fuel for your body to operate at peak performance.

Onions are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, Folate, potassium and manganese, and a very good source of vitamin C.

Carrots are also very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a good source of thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and manganese, and a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Potassium.

Tomatoes are low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a good source of vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, Folate, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and manganese.

Lettuce is low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Iron and Potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese.

We will teach our youth groups the importance of these nutritional sources and how to incorporate them into their daily diet and life style.
Plant as of 5-8-14Plants b as of 5-8-14

Plainfield Area YMCA – Community Garden/ Learn to Swim

Community Garden

Spring is finally here and we can begin to prepare our community garden. Shawn Frazier (our staff  leadership on this project) has completed his research on the most useful and conducive plants to grow. The plants will supply our food bank and and be an excellent teaching tool for our afterschool and camp participants. This year we will plant Tomato, Lettuce, Onions and

Carrots. For the next Three months we will:

 

April: Prepare soil for planting. Begin participant education sessions. Begin plantings

May: Begin garden maintenance program

June: First harvest begins, training summer camp participants

gardening pic (Cannon)

Learn to Swim

Our YMCA is committed to providing healthy physical activities to our young people before they develop serious life-long health problems that accompany obesity, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, asthma and depression. Children who are overweight have a 70% chance of becoming overweight adults, leading to even more health problems – nationally, nearly 80% of diabetes patients are obese, while 70% of diagnosed cases of heart disease are related to obesity. Studies have also found that if overweight begins before 8 years of age, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe. Swimming is an ideal activity to fight obesity, because it can be done in a group, across ages, and is inherently appealing to most children.

 

As a result the Plainfield YMCA is continuing the initiative to teach every child in Plainfield how to swim. We are promoting our learn to swim program through the Plainfield Public Schools. The superintendant, principles and teaches have been very receptive to our learn to swim program. So far 4 out of the 10 elementary schools are participating in our program. We will continue our efforts to have all of the elementary school participating by September 2014.

 

Plainfield Area YMCA – Community Garden

The Plainfield Area YMCA is committed to educating the community to healthy eating habits and providing healthy foods to children and adults. The YMCA will train and mentor 50 after-school/summer camp participants  to work each week in our community garden. They will also supply food to the local food banks and learn about healthy eating habits. Participants  will have the opportunity to plant, feed, water, maintain and harvest vegetables. They will learn about healthy eating habits through the YMCA Healthy U Program. The YMCA will provide the land, seedlings, garden equipment and adult supervision and student volunteers to aid in instructional session and help maintain the gardens throughout the growing season.

 

Timeline Community Garden

January: Recruit leadership and volunteers

February: Begin training student volunteers and afterschool participants

March: Purchase all garden equipment

April: Prepare soil for planting. Begin participant education sessions. Begin plantings

May: Begin garden maintenance program

June: First harvest begins, training summer camp participants

 

Shawn Frazier one of our after-school counselors has agreed to give leadership to the community garden initiative. This year’s program participants and volunteers will plant Tomato, Lettuce, Onion, Carrots.

Shawn Frazier photo