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Connellsville's Carnegie Library borrows a page for fitness program

Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review - Thomas Hutchinson (right), 8, of Connellsville, attempts to balance plastic fruits and vegetables as his twin brother, David, watches during the Free Family Fitness Program at the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville on Wednesday, June 12, 2013. The six week program, scheduled every Wednesday till July 24, aims toward educating children ages 8-12, along with parents, caregiver grandparents, and guardians, on fitness, diet and exercise activities.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review</em></div>Thomas Hutchinson (right), 8, of Connellsville, attempts to balance plastic fruits and vegetables as his twin brother, David, watches during the Free Family Fitness Program at the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.  The six week program, scheduled every Wednesday till July 24, aims toward educating children ages 8-12, along with parents, caregiver grandparents, and guardians, on fitness, diet and exercise activities.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review - Volunteer Doreen Bugai helps Sullivan Maddas (right), 4, and his sister Meagan, 6, with worksheets during the Free Family Fitness Program at the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville on Wednesday, June 12, 2013. The six-week program, scheduled every Wednesday till July 24, aims toward educating children ages 8-12, along with parents, caregiver grandparents, and guardians, on fitness, diet and exercise activities.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review</em></div>Volunteer Doreen Bugai helps Sullivan Maddas (right), 4, and his sister Meagan, 6, with worksheets during the Free Family Fitness Program at the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.  The six-week program, scheduled every Wednesday till July 24, aims toward educating children ages 8-12, along with parents, caregiver grandparents, and guardians,  on fitness, diet and exercise activities.
Saturday, June 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

The Carnegie Free Library, Connellsville, will host a Family Fitness Program at the library from 5:45 to 7:45 p.m. every Wednesday through July 24.

Casey Sirochman, head librarian, said the Family Fitness Program is a continuation of the library's mission of community outreach.

“One of the five literacies that a statewide initiative called PAforward.org promotes is health literacy,” Sirochman said. “Therefore, in addition to our many resources and materials housed in the library for patrons to borrow related to health, we are offering programs to supplement the health literacy initiative.”

She said including adults in this program is an efficient way to reach children.

“We already offer a few individual adult health literacy programs such as yoga (and) wellness retreats, and we are a site for a diabetic research study,” she said. “When it comes to fitness for youth, it is important to include adults because they are responsible for preparing meals and offering fitness activities.”

Mary Catherine Shimko, one of the adult supervisors in the program, said a good fitness program involves both parents and children.

“Getting more parents involved with their children's fitness will encourage a healthy lifestyle for children,” Shimko said. “It will encourage children to participate in physical exercise, rather than just playing video games.”

Activities will include Hula-Hoop, relay races, kickball and dancing.

Shimko said this event not only brings families together but also brings communities together.

“Neighborhood families will interact with each other, especially during the relay races,” she said.

Dr. Jeanne Moore, education professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg campus, said including adults in a fitness program provides good role models for children.

“Children learn their behavior from their parents,” Moore said. “If we can get parents to model healthy behavior, then children will engage in healthy behavior.”

The Family Fitness Program is a research-proven curriculum developed by Penn State Cooperative Extension that focuses on healthy lifestyle changes through eating and fitness. It is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Fayette County.

The Carnegie Free Library is located at 299 S. Pittsburgh St., Connellsville. For more information about the Family Fitness Program, call the library at 724-628-1380.

Barbara Starn is a freelance writer.

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