Volunteers Needed for a Healthy Cause

— Written By and last updated by Patricia Burch

I am excited to announce that the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Sampson County will be bringing Speedway to Healthy to Sampson County for a second year! Speedway to Healthy is a 1,200 square foot exhibit that takes students K-5 through a replica of the body. This walk-through exhibit is a creative educational tool to teach youth how the foods they eat affect their bodies and their health.

Speedway to Healthy is a project of 4-H Youth Development of the Cooperative Extension Program, a division of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T State University. The exhibit was developed as a resource to help fight childhood obesity and poor health among children in North Carolina. Childhood obesity is a widespread issue in the state and the nation. Unhealthy food choices, low physical activity, and other factors have resulted in alarming health facts. Educating our youth is one way we can help them make healthier choices throughout their lifetime.

This exhibit was designed to fit in with our Nascar state. Students race through the exhibit in groups of 10-12. In each pit stop a volunteer educator engages children in an activity that focuses on healthy lifestyle choices and understanding the impact those behaviors have on the body. The exhibit experience begins at the starting-line pit stop where children are given a food identification sticker and taught the MyPlate model. After the starting-line session, the children (acting as pieces of food) proceed to the brain, the next pit stop on the Speedway to Healthy. There they learn how the brain functions and what they can do to keep it healthy. When the children leave the brain, they enter the mouth to learn proper brushing and flossing. They are then swallowed through the esophagus and land in the stomach. From the stomach, they land in the small intestine where they enact being squeezed in small pieces as the nutrients they possess escape into the bloodstream to be delivered throughout the body. Next, the children travel the path of the nutrients to the remaining pit stops: heart, lungs, kidney, bones, muscles, and skin. Children exit the exhibit from the skin pit stop, via a cut in the skin.

The Speedway to Healthy exhibit will be held October 2–4, 2018, at the Bellamy Center in Royal Lane Park. The county’s 3rd-grade youth have been invited to attend.

How can YOU help with this great opportunity? Volunteers are needed to help set-up the exhibit on October 1, from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. (must be 18 years or older). We also need volunteers to man pit stop stations. Volunteers can sign up for 1-hour time slots from 8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. on October 2 and 3, and 9 a.m.–2:15 p.m. on October 4. Station presenters must be aged 16 and up. You can volunteer for as little as 1 hour or for the whole event if you like!

We can’t wait to bring this exhibit to Sampson County. Please join us for this community event! If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please call Sydney Johnson at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Sampson County Center.