City of West Palm Beach, Coleman Park Community Center Afterschool Program Director Frank Verney knows the importance of exposing youth in his program to different subjects, topics, themes and activities. This month (March 2021) his primary focus has been teaching his children and youth how to make healthy choices as his program participated in the Let’s Move: Commit to Change Physical Activity Challenge. The Annual Challenge was introduced to Palm Beach County by the Palm Health Foundation in 2012 in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s National Let’s Move Initiative, which aimed to fight childhood obesity by urging all children and adults, to get moving and incorporate daily exercise and good nutrition in their lives.
This year, the Palm Health Foundation partnered with Prime Time expanded learning opportunity partner, Digital Vibez, Inc. to expand the impact and reach of the challenge, which runs through the month of March. Together, they invited Palm Beach County residents to form teams, commit to exercising at least 30 minutes a day and logging their minutes on the Let’s Move website.
Frank is using this challenge as an opportunity to lead by example. Each day of the week his program focuses on a different theme related to healthy living. Moving Mondays, Training Tuesdays, Walking Wednesdays, Tranquil Thursdays and Fitness Fridays shows youth ways to stay active and healthy. Verney believes that its important for the adults at the program to participate and set a good example for the youth.
Each week, Digital Vibez creates a different challenge to add another element of friendly competition to the Initiative. Verney, his staff and the children at his program won the challenge in week two, which asked participants to post a picture of their team in the most inspirational place they exercise. His team won with a picture taken from their most recent Tranquil Thursday at their on-site garden.
“Tranquil Thursdays are all about teaching the youth mindful exercise. We use our garden because it’s peaceful and allows the children to be mindful without distractions.”
As of Friday, March 19, 2021, The City of West Palm Beach currently sits in fourth place with more than 1.3 million minutes of exercise, and the County has already recorded more than 8.5 million minutes with 12 days left in the Challenge. That number is more than double last year’s total, showing the impact Digital Vibez and afterschool programs, like Coleman Park Community Center Afterschool Program, have had on not only this challenge, but in making Palm Beach County a healthier community for everyone, especially our community’s children and youth.