Kent Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department this week received a $25,000 grant from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to support children’s health through parks and recreation programs outside of school time.

The award is part of a $1.5 million grant NRPA received from Walmart Foundation to support such programs in parks and recreation agencies across the country.

The purpose of the grant will focus on three key areas:

  1. Increase the number of healthy meals children K through 12 receive through an afterschool or summer food program
  2. Provide nutrition literacy about fruits and vegetables to children and families
  3. Implement healthy living practices and physical activity that support a healthy environment

This grant supports NRPA’s Commit to Health campaign, which encourages usage of Healthy Eating, Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in parks and recreation sites. NRPA’s goal is to have at least 2,000 participating sites in five years. In the first four years of Commit to Health, 1,650 sites have pledged their support and nearly 300,000 now have improved access to healthy foods and more opportunities for physical activity.

“The City of Kent has always been and will continue to be an essential community partner in combating the challenges of poor nutrition, hunger, obesity and physical inactivity that are affecting our children today,” said Julie Parascondola, director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services for the City of Kent. “This grant will help us enhance our current programming and outreach to youth and teens throughout our community.”

Part of the grant will be used to purchase a Smoothie/Art bike where participants can pedal their way to a healthy smoothie or a unique piece of art. The bike will be moved around the City to different events and programs throughout the summer, so kids and teens can experiment with the cool things it can do, while making healthy eating and physical activity creative and fun.

Scott Schaefer

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