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Day on the Farm for Children in East Orange YMCA’s Child Care and Saturday Program

EAST ORANGE, NJ – Children in the East Orange YMCA’s after-school program visited America’s Grow-a-Row farm, while others learned about the value of yoga as part of the Y’s Healthy U celebrations last month.

With a farm-to-school theme for Healthy U celebrations, 30 children toured America’s Grow-a-Row farm in Pittstown on Oct. 15. 

“What surprised them the most was seeing how the fruits and veggies are planted, grown, and harvested.  They are so used to just seeing them in the store,” said East Orange YMCA After School and Program Director Kim Winslow. The children enjoyed tasting and smelling the fruits and vegetables, Winslow said. 

“The children can’t wait to go back again in the spring and summer to help plant their own produce, harvest it, and eat it,” she said.

Meanwhile, at the Althea Gibson Early Childhood Academy, kindergarteners and preschoolers practiced doing the downward dog and tree pose, among others, discovering that yoga relaxes the mind and body.

The Healthy U program was created in 2008 by the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey to combat childhood obesity through nutrition education, physical education and family involvement. It’s estimated that one in three children is obese or overweight.

Healthy U touches the lives of more than 46,000 children statewide at more than 500 YMCAs and elementary schools. It is now the largest and most comprehensive childhood obesity prevention program in the country. The Horizon Foundation has invested nearly $5 million in Healthy U.

The East Orange YMCA is a branch of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges, the largest association of YMCAs in New Jersey with more than 35,000 members.