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Path toward learning opens today at Wilshire Trails
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In honor of J. Cleon Nalley, the United Way of Hall County will install a new Born Learning Trail at 9 a.m. today at Wilshire Trails Park.

"The Born Learning Trails is a national movement started by United Way," said Jackie Wallace, the president and chief professional officer of the United Way of Hall County. "It’s a way to make everyday moments teaching moments, whether you’re buying groceries or visiting the park."

Born Learning helps parents, grandparents and caregivers find new ways to make every day moments into learning opportunities for children.

The United Way will install signs along the new trail with instructions for kids to follow.

The signs will offer such instructions as "hop," "toss," "shake," "wiggle," "clap" and "skip," which will promote not only fun but exercise and learning as well.

There also will be suggestions listed, such as to play hopscotch, which will get children’s brains and bodies moving.

At 9 a.m. today, teams from the Young Leaders Society will dig holes to install the posts and signs and lay out the trail. Everyone involved in the process will meet at Wilshire Trails Park at noon for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration cookout with members of the Nalley family present. The celebration is open to those who have participated in the process.

Wallace said the United Way wants the public to be aware that simple moments, such as walking down a trail, can be teaching moments.

"The trails are a way to encourage children to be outside," said Wallace. "When they hop and skip and jump, it’s a teaching opportunity."

This fun and learning experience also will not hurt parents’ wallets.

"At no cost, the public has access to these trails so they can have teaching moments and at the same time, have fun," Wallace said.

The United Way is focused on giving, advocating and volunteering, and this project involves all three. The early teaching that is stimulated by walking down the trails helps children be prepared for school, and the Young Leaders Society is volunteering their time and effort.

The United Way hopes to install even more trails later this year. Their goal is to put the trails in locations all over Hall County.

Nalley, a local attorney, also was known for his musical prowess, playing and singing with the Athens band The Jesters. He died July 12, 2007, and left $165,000 for his family to donate to The United Way.

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