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Wellness is the subject of the day in Pa.

May 03, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Dozens of third-graders stumbled about a room at the Falling Spring Presbyterian Church Tuesday afternoon, trying to see things through "fatal vision goggles."

"I liked when we had to wear those goggles," said Olivier Dejoie, a student at Corpus Christi Catholic School.

"Yeah, it was weird. You had to concentrate and you're like moving side to side," said classmate Tim Rook.

About 1,500 Franklin County third-graders will get the same experience this week at one of the stations for the seventh annual Children's Wellness Days, said Nickie Hockenberry, the community health coordinator for Summit Health.

The goggles are made to distort the perception and fuzz the focus of the wearers, simulating what it is like to be impaired by drugs or alcohol, Hockenberry said. It was one of eight stations the students will stop at during the event, which continues through today and Thursday morning, she said.

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"The theme is 'Wellness is a Rainbow.' We try to teach them a little bit of everything in a short amount of time," Hockenberry said. "This is a field trip that reinforces what they've already learned through the school year."

The students were rotated through stations on food and nutrition, fire and police, tobacco, drugs and alcohol, positive self-image, future wellness, conflict and anger management and exercise, Hockenberry said. More than 100 volunteers each day, many of them from co-sponsoring human service agencies organizations, work with the students, Hockenberry said.

"Stop. Think. Options. Plan," students chanted in one room where Angie Tobias of Women In Need was relating the steps they should take in resolving a conflict.

Marsha Quesenberry of Physical Therapy Etc. put the students through an obstacle course in the church gymnasium, having them symbolically turn off a television and a computer at different points.

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