Anyone who has raised or spent any extended length of time with children knows firsthand how difficult it can be to get them to do the activities and eat the foods necessary for a healthy life.
In most cases these sorts of interaction disintegrate into sullen bargaining of desserts, or some kind of not-so tricky parental psychology: “I bet all the cool kids at school eat their peas.”
But according to the Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County, family health is something that doesn’t have to be a struggle.
On Sunday the Junior League held its fifth annual Healthy Habits Expo, showcasing a number of local organizations dedicated to educating and improving the physical and mental health of families in Hall County.
The expo was held at the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids Children’s Museum, families were free to wander through the museum from station to station learning about the different measures that can be taken to stay healthy.
At the event, companies like Juice Plus and Easy B’s Kitchen gave out snacks and talked with kids about the importance of shopping and eating right, while representatives from the local police and fire departments talked to children about fire safety and how to call 911 and ask for help.
Joy Banks, Junior League president, said that over the last five years the expo has been held, the focus has mostly remained the same and that most people in the community have enjoyed coming and learning. This year the event expanded the family health focus to include mental health, with representatives from CMS Counseling giving a talk on feelings and Gateway Domestic Violence Center teaching kids that “hands are not for hitting” while giving parents resources on domestic violence.
“Some are targeted to the kids,” said Junior League member Amanda Ward. “And some is about educating the parents about healthy lifestyle choices and what they can do.”
She said they have had a lot of success in past years by mixing the learning with a game the kids play and giving them a task like filling out a scorecard by visiting every station.
Ward said the Junior League is really targeting the families in Hall County who are at the most risk for unhealthy behaviors.
“It’s not always something that is taught in school or at home,” Ward said.
The Junior League holds several community events like this one throughout the year. Its monthly Feeding Our Future event distributes boxes of nutritious foods to chronically hungry children in the community.