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Meeting the Health Needs of our Communities — One Step at a Time
An annual walking program organized in part by Taylorville Memorial Hospital has helped hundreds of elementary school children learn to stay on the right path to a healthy lifestyle.
In conjunction with the University of Illinois Extension office, Taylorville's Elementary Walk Day, which involves six elementary schools at five facilities each spring, tries to send the message to kids that making good health choices starts early and can have lasting, positive effects. The young participants spend one afternoon after school walking 20 laps, enjoying healthy snacks and learning about their blood pressure, height and weight from TMH registered nurses.
"A lot of times, we get the teachers participating, too," said Melissa Thomas, executive secretary at TMH and a parent of two Walk Day participants. "And we tell the kids to bring someone — a parent, a grandparent — to walk with them, and some do."
For each completed lap, the children earn a brightly colored, plastic foot pendant to hang from a necklace. Some children enjoy the event so much, they keep walking even after their 20 laps are complete.
"My kids love those feet – all those kids do. As long as we help one kid, it's worth it." Thomas said. "We need to start young with kids to instill healthy habits." Brandi Bruley, principal at North Elementary School in Taylorville, said Walk Day is a great event for kids and adults alike. Teachers often participate with the kids and
"We look forward to it every year, and the students do as well," she said. "Not only do they get to exercise with someone they admire and receive items each time they make a certain amount of laps, but they also go to different health stations to be weighed and measured and see the importance of keeping your body healthy. Not only do they get something tangible but they see the importance of why we are doing this through the education component of this activity."
Walk Day is one of many Community Benefit programs provided at no cost by Memorial Health System. As a nonprofit provider of hospital and healthcare services, Memorial's six affiliates offer numerous free programs that help fulfill its mission to improve the health of the people and communities they serve. Some of these programs include clinical training for physicians, nurses and other clinicians; free parenting classes; support groups for patients undergoing or recovering from a variety of illnesses; and health screenings at local health fairs.
Read about more community benefit programs in Taylorville by visiting the Taylorville Memorial Hospital website.
All of us at Memorial Health System are dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve. But we cannot do it without you. To achieve great health, schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor at any of our convenient locations. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.