The Westly’s Mile Running Club kicked off its celebration launch at Ocoee Elementary School on Monday, Oct. 10.
More than 70 children from the school participated in the walk/run which is designed to give elementary students in West Orange County a foundation of healthy habits.
“Sometimes when I go to class I feel sleepy all the time so I think that running in the morning will help wake me up,” Kennedy Allen, fourth grader at Ocoee Elementary, said.
Parker Allen, second grader at Ocoee Elementary also said running is very important.
“You can grow and get stronger,” she said.
Participating schools include Maxey Elementary, Ocoee Elementary, SunRidge Elementary, Tildenville Elementary and Westbrooke Elementary.
The program is a partnership between the Foundation for a Healthier West Orange, Healthy West Orange and the American Heart Association.
“At the American Heart Association, we champion for all kids to reach their full potential by uncovering innovative ways to address the challenges affecting today’s youth,” LaSonia Landry, executive director from the American Heart Association of Greater Orlando, said. “Research shows that kids who are regularly active feel better, improve their mental health, build self-esteem, and decrease and prevent conditions such as anxiety and depression.”
Tracy Swanson, CEO of the Foundation for a Healthier West Orange, said the organization is thrilled to be working with the American Heart Association to grow the reach and impact of Healthy West Orange.
“Physical fitness is critical to our overall health and well being, and what better way to engage our children than in a fun club that also gets them moving,” Swanson said.
Over the next five years, Westly’s Mile will expand to 29 elementary schools.
To support the program, each school will receive program materials, guidance and stipends for teachers who lead the run/walk club.