heraldindependent.com

Fairfield youth group dedicates bike rack to Drawdy Park

By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

April 3, 2014

WINNSBORO — The REAL Teen Action/HYPE Project Team recently dedicated a bike rack to Drawdy Park in Winnsboro.


Team members attended the dedication ceremony despite having to take the photo in the rain.


The team was developed by Fairfield Behavioral Health Services during the 2011-2012 school term. REAL Teen Action stands for Refuse, Explain, Avoid and Leave. HYPE stands for Healthy Young People Empowerment, which was added during the 2012-2013 school term.


The team was created to raise their voices to say no to drugs and violence and yes to healthy eating and active living.


Some of their current accomplishments include collecting over $200 for the Fairfield Community Food Bank, collecting 217 articles of clothing during the Warm the Winter project, hosting a tobacco prevention presentation and implementing a seven-week after school fitness and nutrition program.


The group chose a bike rack to give the community a centralized place to secure their bikes when traveling to Drawdy Park.


Fairfield Middle School student Monterrias Seabrook said he wanted to dedicate a bike rack to give people motivation for healthy living.


“We wanted people to become more active,” he stated.


The process of designing and installing the bike rack started last year and the team was pleased to finally see the culmination of their efforts.


Before deciding on a bike rack, the team conducted over 700 surveys to gather information and see what the community wanted.


The team is currently focused on the development of their new fitness club, which is an after school program from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. where members can exercise and do basic stretches.


The program also includes the nationally recognized Insanity workout.


“We wanted to reach out to everyone in the schools and the community and lower the rate of obesity,” Fairfield Central High School student Nytorria Jeter said.


One of the program’s coaches, Ervin Mack is pleased to be a part of the team’s healthy objective.


“I’ve enjoyed working with the kids and the REAL Teen Action/HYPE Project,” Mack noted. “The fitness component is made of cross-fit and circuit training and is a fun way to get kids to exercise and out of a gym and do more functional training. I’m just happy to work them and have kids who want to things to be healthier.”


Some of the group’s favorite activities and exercises included ab workouts, playing kick-ball and doing burpees, which is a full body exercise used in strength training and as an aerobic exercise.


The program is open to middle school students and high school students.


Fairfield Behavioral Health Services executive director Vernon Kennedy is looking forward to expanding current projects.


“We’d love to see this branch out even further than it is right now,” he said. “The kids are doing a great job and there are still a lot of things coming up.”


Prevention coordinator Veronica Edmonds was especially appreciative of the team member’s effort.


“We are strong in numbers and these team members have been very inspirational to me and I appreciate all of their help,” she stated.


For more information, you can go online at www.fairfieldbhs.org or visit their Facebook page by searching Fairfield Behavioral Health Services.