United Way and Partners Build a United Way Healthy Kids Zone in Tampa Bay
By Krystle Funches, Student
Early Tuesday Morning volunteers from many different companies joined together for one common interest, our children. Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese, it is up to us to help encourage our youth to stay active, get outside and stay healthy. Obesity is one of the easiest diseases to diagnose but could be the hardest to treat, which is why our youth need our help.
United Way along with GMC have come together to build Healthy Kid Zones in nine NFL markets as part of GMC's Monday Night Football Tour. Tampa Florida being the second stop on the tour welcomed them with open arms. United Way chose the Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office (DACCO) to be the location for Tampa’s Healthy Kids Zone. DACCO houses women that are a part of the program who want to live a drug free lifestyle. DACCO helps them achieve that by giving them the tools that it takes to promote positive relationships with the community and amongst their families. The women of DACCO were more than willing to break a sweat to help build the Healthy Kids Zone that their own children would be utilizing.
NFL Player Earnest Graham also stopped by to help the cause. He expressed how much childhood obesity means to him and how he is always willing to give a helping hand. Sharing funny anecdotes with the volunteers about how his mom pushed him into five different sports as a kid, opened the floor for others to go down memory lane with their own childhood stories. This motivated the volunteers to get the job done.
Everyone gave a helping hand and displayed unity within the community. You could not help but feel the inspiration in the atmosphere. Knowing that the Healthy Kids Zone here in Tampa Florida will one day help hundreds of kids stay fit by balancing, climbing, hanging, swinging, sliding and spinning. The warmest feelings will come from the parents who helped build the playground, when they see their children playing and smiling. They will be able to feel a sense of accomplishment and empowerment knowing that they were a part of helping their kids smile and keeping them healthy all at the same time.