Soccer, basketball, jump rope, golf, hula hoops, face painting, bingo, fishing, hockey, arts and crafts and a bounce house. Sound like fun? It was – for both the children participating and the volunteers who led them in a day devoted to being active and healthy.
With able assistance from Ursuline Academy students, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas hosted the Hamilton Park Family Festival last month. More than 70 teenage girls led sports and games for 300 children from the low-income area to highlight how to stay healthy and active throughout the summer months.
Across North Texas, 36% of children are obese or at risk of becoming obese. This mirrors nationwide data; in 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. In the U.S. and around the world, childhood obesity is a serious issue for the risk it poses to children’s health now, and later, as adults. Not only did the teenage volunteers create a fun day for the kids, they were also modeling how volunteering is part of their active and healthy lifestyle.
The volunteer project was sponsored by Depend. Through a three-year partnership with Depend, United Ways are expanding their volunteer activities and outreach to encourage healthy, active, and independent living at all ages. The partnership with Depend is extending our ability to deliver meaningful volunteer engagement that opens up dialogue, breaks down stigmas and helps people live active and fulfilling lives.
You don’t have to jump rope with kids to enjoy the health benefits of volunteering. Reading with children, volunteering to help prepare income tax returns and just about any other form of volunteering is good for you and for your community. Learn more about how volunteering is good for your health, and contact your local United Way to get involved.