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Back-to-school, after-school awareness

By Staff
Letter to the Editor
Dear Editor:
Summer has ended and children are back in school. While some parents spent the last few weeks stocking up on school supplies, new backpacks and lunch boxes, working parents once again find themselves searching for safe, quality after school programs to complement and supplement their children's in-school learning.
Experts agree that school-age children need to be moderately to vigorously active for a minimum of 60 minutes a day. Unfortunately, the problem is extensive since the majority, almost two-thirds of our nation's youth, is not reaching this goal. Which means that as kids in Atmore head back to school and to long days of sitting at their desks, it is critically important that we find additional ways for our children to stay active and stimulated during the after school hours.
after school programs are even feeling the pressure to also shift from physical activity programming to academic class time. Television, computer games, the internet and text messaging are deactivating our kids. Diminished public funding for parks, playgrounds and sidewalks that encourage and facilitate active lifestyles along with concerns about neighborhood safety contribute to inactivity.
Keep in mind, non-academic does not mean non-educational. At the Atmore Area YMCA, we foster a healthy balance between academic enrichment and playful, recreational activities for children after school. We focus on developing the whole child through programs that support children's learning through social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual development. The Atmore Y aims to build self-esteem for youth through programs which focus on abilities rather than shortcomings and which provide the tools youth need to be happy and productive in life.
As we send our children back to school this year, let's help them to strike the right balance between academics, physical recreation and holistic development. And, in doing so we'll teach them what they need for a lifetime of health and happiness.
Sincerely,
Tammy Graham
Executive Director
Atmore Area YMCA