Former New York Knicks great John Wallace visited the Ridgewood Y last month to help teach kids the importance of staying active and physically fit during the YMCA’s annual Healthy Kids Day.
Over 600 residents attended the day-long event at the Ridgewood Y — located at 69-02 64th St. — on April 29, and girls and boys aged 5-11 got to take part in a Junior Knicks Basketball Clinic, where they participated in exercise drills that taught them to stay healthy and fit while learning the fundamentals of basketball with Wallace on hand to help the kids with their form.
As a former Y kid himself, Wallace offered words of support and encouragement to the children, stressing the importance of staying physically active and performing well in school so that they can fulfill their dreams.
“When a child is healthy, happy, motivated and excited, something amazing is inevitably going to result,” said La-Vena Francis, executive director of the Ridgewood YMCA. “We believe in the potential of all children, and we strive to help kids find that potential within themselves. A child’s development is never on vacation, and Healthy Kids Day is a great opportunity to educate families and motivate kids to stay active in spirit, mind and body throughout the summer.”
Healthy Kids Day consisted of plenty of other fun activities for all ages such as a family Zumba class, soccer and basketball shootout games, a scavenger hunt, family games, and arts and crafts, as well as educational sessions like making Oobleck slime and healthy cooking demonstrations.
YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day is celebrated at over 1,600 Ys across the country and is visited by over 1.2 million participants.
The event aims to get kids not only more active, but learning as well, in order to create habits that they can continue all summer, especially since research shows that without access to out-of-school learning activities, kids fall behind academically, the YMCA said. Healthy Kids Days is a way to combat not only summertime learning loss, but to keep children physically active, too, as kids tend to gain weight twice as fast during the summer months compared to the during the school year.
For the Healthy Kids Day event the Ridgewood Y collaborated with the 104th Precinct, Jr. Knicks-NY Knicks, BlueCross BlueShield, NYC HPD, SNAP, NY Life, GNC, Wyckoff Medical Center, Office of Child Support Enforcement Services, READY NYC, the Ridgewood Volunteer Ambulance Corp., GROW NYC and the FDNY.