BY: KAREN NICHOLAS |
Thursday night’s Wellness Extravaganza at South Orange Middle School was a huge success. It was put together by SOMS physical education teacher Allison Cahill who was looking to bridge the gap between students and the health and wellness community. She is very passionate about wanting kids to lead healthy lives and felt like this would be a great way to get them invested.
Judy LoBianco, the district’s supervisor of physical education for grades K-12, was thrilled to see the community coming together to promote health and fitness. SOMS principal, Joseph Uglialoro hopes this will become an annual event.
Over twenty five booths were set up representing everything from the benefits of juicing to the MedExpress urgent care center on Route 22 to information about the HPV vaccine. Many fitness and exercise studios were there such as D & I fitness, and Studio 509 (formerly Bodies In Motion). New owners Holly Benge, Guada Bas and Bethany Petigrew offer Niyolates, Dance Fusion, and Barre classes just to name a few. Cycle Maplewood’s Alli Joseph teaches spin classes at the old Maplewood Women’s Club. A schedule and information can be found on their website.
Kids and parents could also talk to people who work in the district such as Pat Johnson, the Food Service Director, Cindy Sue Schaller, the district Operation Manager as well as Richard Slater, SOMS Cafeteria Manager. They were handing out carrots and celery sticks while explaining the benefits of a healthy diet.
Columbia High Schools nurses Therese Crigler and Lynn Schwartz had a table full of flyers giving lots of practical information about some of the things they see come through their office every day. They said that they are often the first line of defense with things such as concussions or common ailments. Surprisingly, one of the things they see frequently is girls with burns from curling irons.
Some of the other services that were available included were free eye tests, blood pressure tests by the South Orange Department of Health (which offers free screenings regularly, call the health dept. for more information), chiropractic assessments and relaxing massages.
All in all, this year’s Wellness Extravaganza was not only exactly what it promised to be but it also highlighted the very thing that Ms. Cahill was trying to express: health and wellness happens as a community, when kids see everyone promoting it, it becomes part of their lives.