YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) will celebrate the 27th annual Healthy Kids Day® nationally on Saturday, April 21. Healthy Kids Day is the Y’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids and families. More than 1,500 Ys across the country are holding free community events to inspire kids to keep their minds and bodies active throughout the summer months. These events will feature a range of activities and games that promote physical activity; encourage reading and exploration; teach child safety; and boost healthy eating habits. Each location will curate a wide array of fun and exciting activities for its community, designed to awaken kids’ imaginations, while keeping them active and healthy during the summer and beyond.
“Healthy Kids Day is one way the Y engages with communities nationwide in our work to nurture the potential of every child and teen,” said Kevin Washington, President and CEO of YMCA of the USA. “It is a great platform for educating both kids and families about the importance of continuing to develop kids’ minds and bodies over the summer—a fun time of year, but also a time when kids need to remain both physically and intellectually stimulated. The Y is a resource for kids and families during the summer months and all year long.”
In conjunction with Healthy Kids Day, the Y and Walmart Foundation have launched a national youth artwork competition to help raise awareness about the epidemic of child hunger and highlight the importance of good nutrition paired with enrichment. Youth under 18 are invited to use their imaginations to depict hunger scenes from classic fairytales for the Y’s “Child Hunger is No Fairytale” campaign. Selected artwork will be shared in an online gallery and used as part of a national anti-hunger ad campaign.
Participants may enter their artwork for “Child Hunger is No Fairytale” by submitting a drawing online at TheYFeedsKids.org or by visiting a Healthy Kid’s Day celebration at their local Y. Each of the five winning artists, in addition to having artwork featured as part of the Y’s national campaign, will receive a $500 Walmart gift card, plus a $500 donation to their local YMCA.
Healthy Kids Day is celebrated at over 1,500 Ys across the country by more than 1.2 million participants in an effort to bring the community together and keep kids active. The Y believes that when a child is healthy, happy, and encouraged to use their imagination – amazing things happen. Conversely, research shows that without physical and learning activities—normally provided in-school—kids are at high risk for summer learning loss and gain weight three times faster during the summer than during the school year. As spring turns to summer, Healthy Kids Day is a powerful reminder to keep children’s imaginations and bodies active during the summer (and beyond!) so they can reach their full potential.