Chico State’s Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) helped put on a pair of events Saturday in Colusa County, each of which was geared toward promoting a healthy, active lifestyle for the county’s youngest residents.
Early on Saturday morning, the organization – in collaboration with the Colusa County Office of Education – sent two groups of Chico State students to the children’s centers in Arbuckle and Williams, where – with a few stencils and a little bit of paint – they worked to transform the asphalt into “state-of-the-art” playgrounds.
“The whole point is to create opportunities for kids to play and move,” said Jennifer Murphy, a nutrition education specialist with the CHC who oversaw the event at the Arbuckle Children’s Center. “Using the stencils, we are able to create activities and spaces for teachers to integrate education with healthy movement.”
Murphy, who is also a part-time instructor at Chico State, said that about 30 of her students came down to Colusa County to help with the playground painting.
Michele Buran, who started the playground painting project in Butte County after she realized that a few activity-related stencils and some paint could transform an asphalt or concrete surface into a state-of-the-art children’s playground, was in charge of the playground painting at the Williams Children’s Center, and had an additional 15 to 20 Chico State students helping her at that location.
“I think it’s really a terrific opportunity for the Chico State students, who are just trying to get involved in early childhood education,” said Colusa County Superintendent of Schools Michael West. “They basically make a physical activity into a fun activity for the kids. We were happy to have them.”
Later on Saturday, the CHC and the Colusa County Department of Public Health worked together to put an informational booth out at the La Reina grocery store, geared at promoting healthy eating.
“County public health partnered up with the Center for Healthy Communities on a grant, promoting healthy eating,” said Colusa County health program specialist Erika Avina. “We are out here offering free tastings of healthy foods and drinks to promote people to eat more fruits and vegetables. We’re also doing painting with parts of fruits and vegetables to promote a connection to healthy foods with caregivers and their children. We are also trying to work with the store owners on healthy messaging and carrying healthier foods in their stores, and displaying them more prominently.”■