Healthy living youth programs begin Tuesday

Hamilton County youth in grades 1 through 12 have the opportunity to have fun with friends, be healthy, and connect with their communities in the Healthy Living Summer Youth Program at All Cultures Equal, ACE, at 1440 East Second Street, Webster City. The programs will be offered from 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from this Tuesday through August 7. The programs are free and everyone who attends will go home with something new to improve their health and wellness and to share with their families.

There are several options for those who want to get involved. The first is the Sunset Heights Summer School Program with teacher, Dawn Scholtens. Many youth in grades 2 through 4 have already signed up for this program through the school, according to organizers. It involves fun activities such as reading and gardening to improve health and other skills. Sunset Heights is the site of 10 raised bed gardens that feed students and families. The schedule of classes will be up to the school. Transportation may be provided once the need and pick up locations have been determined.

The second option is called Summer FEAST, Food Education Action Sustainability Team. Youth in grades 1 through 7 are invited to have fun with friends, food, gardening, and community service at the Boone River Country Community Gardens, the Outdoor Place, and the commercial kitchen at ACE. Food and outdoor activities are geared to improve health for the participants, their families, Upper Des Moines Opportunities and ACE patrons, and anyone in Hamilton County. Participants are asked to wear closed-toe shoes and sunscreen.

The third option is called Making a Difference. Youth in Grades 8 through 12 will take part in fun-filled activities that focus on youth development, service-learning, prevention, reducing risky behaviors, personal health and wellness and more. Youth will gain skills and knowledge to be healthy and successful, as well as become more connected to community resources. The Bee Inspired CAPP Program through Building Families is partnering with agencies in the community to offer this health-related track.

If youth are interested in participating in any of these options, please contact Janet Toering at ACE by phone at (515) 450-4973 or email at Please note that transportation from the Summer School Lunch Program at the Middle School will be provided for the second and third options starting the week of June 16. Participants will be picked up between 11:30 and 11:50 a.m., and returned to the same place by 1:30 p.m. Other pick up sites may be determined once the youth have registered. During the first week of classes at ACE, please arrange transportation on your own, or by calling Janet.

These Healthy Living Summer Youth Program Options are being funded by the Iowa Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Decategorization, and are intended to engage youth to make wise choices and improve their health and wellness while working to reduce abuse, neglect and hunger. The sponsoring organizations include All Cultures Equal, Boone River Country Community Gardens, and the Bee Inspired CAPP Program through Building Families. Other organizations are providing expertise and volunteering to assure the success of the program options. Each option will continue in some form throughout the school year. The program compliments the Healthy Hamilton Coalition’s goal in Building community for a safe, healthy, connected Hamilton County.