PRESS RELEASE: West Cook YMCA TO Hold FREE Healthy Kids Day, April 26th


[Oak Park, April 18, 2014] – On Saturday, April 26, the West Cook YMCA is holding a free community event to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active. YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve families’ health and well-being, features indoor and outdoor games and activities, healthy cooking demonstrations, and arts and crafts to motivate and teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home.

YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, celebrated at nearly 1,600 Ys across the country, aims to get more kids moving and learning, so they can keep up the habit all summer long – a critical out-of-school time for kids’ health. Research shows that without access to out-of-school physical and learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during summer than the school year.

“One in three U.S. children is obese. This statistic, coupled with the fact that once summer hits, children will be more idle, demonstrates why it’s important to help families develop healthy habits now,” said Lisa Merdinger, the West Cook YMCA’s Child, Family & Teen Director. “As part of the Y’s commitment to healthy living, through YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day our goal is to improve the health and well-being of kids and inspire habits they can continue into adulthood.”

In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:

  • High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development.
  • Foster an Early and Onging Passion for Books – Read to and with your kids. Help children read at every age and every stage of their development.
  • Team Up for Athletic Events – Set a family goal of great health by teaming up for community or charity events like races, walks, fun runs. Bike rides, etc.
  • Volunteer Together – Find a cause that matters to the kids. Open their eyes to a world beyond themselves and the rich rewards that come from making a difference.
  • Lead By Example – Be a good role model – kids can be influenced by seeing how hard their parents work at home or on the job, and how rewarding that experience is.

The West Cook YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day takes place at the West Cook YMCA (255 S. Marion St. in Oak Park) from 10:00am – 12:00pmand also at the Boys and Girls Club of West Cook County (4000 St. Paul Ave in Bellwood) and features fun, active play and educational activities, such as archery, drumming and dance demonstrations, and healthy cooking activities.

In order to promote healthy lifestyles, the West Cook YMCA will also be running a membership special from April 26 – May 4, featuring $0 Joiner’s Fees for Youth Memberships and $60 off any other Joiner’s Fees.

YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day is supported by the Memorial Park District, and also supported by national media partners Sprout and Lazy Town, who are committed to encouraging kids to lead a healthy lifestyle.

For more information, contact the West Cook YMCA at 708-383-5200 or visit

About the West Cook YMCA

The West Cook YMCA, located at 255 South Marion Street, Oak Park, was founded in 1903.

Annually, the West Cook YMCA serves more than 10,000 youth, families, seniors, and single adults of Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Bellwood, Elmwood Park, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, River Grove and Stone Park with more than 100 weekly programs and classes focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

In recent years, the West Cook YMCA has been cited by the YMCA of the USA as a Global Center of Excellence, having built relationships with Ys in Kosovo and Japan and as a Diversity and Inclusion Y. It also assisted Oak Park earn national recognition from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the YMCA of the USA as a Pioneering Healthy Community. VFP


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