By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
There were clowns and games, like any fair, but the one at Girard High School was about more than fun.
The event Saturday was the school district’s wrap-up to its Wellness Week.
“We decided this year we wanted to really start making a difference, not only in our children, but in our community,” said Roger Parson, the district’s regional food-service director. “Everything that happens here at Girard City Schools goes out to the community through the children. So we wanted parents and grandparents [involved], and we thought this would be the best way to top off our whole Wellness Week.”
The weeklong wellness activities for students included learning Zumba, a dance-based fitness program, and nutritious snacks every day, Parson said.
“We wanted everybody to try a sugar snap pea,” Pardon said. “You would be surprised at how many kids have never seen or eaten a raw sugar snap pea, or a raw green bean or chick peas or things like that.”
Those who attended the health and wellness fair had a chance to sample those and other vegetables, as well.
Participants also could try an obstacle course in the gym, snack on apples and pears, have their hearing checked, learn their body fat index, and more.
“It’s awesome,” said Anthony Piganelli, a third-grade Girard student. “I got to go play in the gym.”
This was their first time at a wellness event, said his mother, Amy Piganelli.
“It’s a very nice event,” she said. “The kids have loved coming out and seeing the different things. It’s just nice to get out and learn some new things about health and wellness.”
Madison Piganelli, 4, attended the event with her mother and brother.
“We did the obstacle course,” she said, noting that it was fun.
Hanna Eldridge and Kaila DeChristofaro, both freshmen at Girard High School, were looking for something to do, so they stopped by the wellness fair.
“It’s really fun,” Eldridge said. “It’s really cool. It helps the community.”
“It’s really nice,” she said. “There’s a lot of information here.”
They enjoyed the Wellness Week leading up to the event, as well.
“There was a Zumba instructor here,” DeChristofaro said. “That was pretty fun.”
Both said it showed them that exercise can be fun, especially with friends.
More than 30 vendors from Mahoning and Trumbull counties were on hand at the wellness fair to offer information and answer questions.
It’s important to have events such as this, said Maria Duponty, a dental assistant at Small Smiles Dental Clinic of Youngstown.
“It being free to the public makes it very accessible, very good for the community,” added Megan Datchuk, a dental hygienist at Small Smiles.