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With an eye for health, YMCA offers ideas to teach parents

April 14, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Children in Waynesboro got a fun-filled lesson in healthy living Saturday during Healthy Kids Day at the Waynesboro YMCA.

The Waynesboro YMCA joined with YMCA organizations nationwide this weekend for the event, which is a national effort to help parents raise healthy children.

Stephanie Light, an intern at the YMCA, said every parent wants a healthy child, but many have no idea what services exist to help.

Healthy Kids Day was created to bring together hundreds of children and parents with dozens of local organizations aimed at promoting wellness and safety for youths, Light said.

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From teeth and eyes to strong bones and minds, parents could find answers to many common health questions at the YMCA.

Lines stretched through the gymnasium as children waited to see people such as optometrist Dr. Joel H. McGahen, who performed free vision screenings.

McGahen said he offers screenings at Healthy Kids Day because not everyone thinks to take their children for regular eye checkups.

"I'm sure some people are here today to find out if their kid needs to see an eye doctor for a full exam," he added.

Outside, children could explore a firetruck, an ambulance and a medevac helicopter to learn about safety.

Rob Brown, flight medic with STAT MedEvac, said having the equipment on site was a great way to introduce children to the EMS systems of their community.

While children waited to have their eyes checked or for a clown to twist a balloon into their favorite shape, they could find goodies in the gym.

Kids lined up to taste one of the flavorful concoctions that Franklin County Dairy Princess Stephanie Hykes of Greencastle, Pa., was making out of milk.

Hykes had four flavors of Jell-O that she was mixing with milk to show parents fun ways to entice their children to drink the recommended three glasses of milk each day.

"The kids just love this stuff," Hykes said. "We are making these all over the state."

Light said the goal of the day was to connect parents with valuable resources for the health of their children while giving the kids something fun to do.

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