While I grew up living a fairly active lifestyle between softball and dance lessons, I also grew up eating a lot of poor quality food (think deep-fried, fast food). Today, I’m extremely passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and teaching kids to adopt healthier eating and exercise habits in their own lives.On February 26th, 2011, I was pleased to volunteer with Whole Foods Market for Marathon Kids, a national organization in nine cities that provides a free running/walking, nutrition, and schoolyard gardening program to kids between kindergarten and the fifth grade.Kids in the program run or walk a full marathon (26.2 miles) in quarter or half mile increments over a six-month period. They’re also highly encouraged to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day and keep a log of their progress. In fact, the Austin classrooms that logged the most fruit and vegetables eaten were recently rewarded with an exclusive tour of our flagship Whole Foods Market store in downtown Austin.
On Saturday, nearly 20,000 kids came together to celebrate the completion of the final mile. It was a grey, drizzly day, but that didn’t stop the kids’ excitement about the event. There was a small group of us volunteers dressed up as fruit (I was the strawberry, thank you berry much!) and we really tried hard to keep that energy going by dancing and cheering for the crowd. Kids even sought me out after the race to take pictures, give high-fives, and largely just to say hello.
Whole Foods Market team members and Marathon Kids volunteers were there at the finish line to hand out finisher medals, bottled water, and plenty of congratulations. The kids crossed the finish line beaming and walked away staring at their golden medals in complete awe. You could tell they were truly proud to have completed the marathon.It was a pivotal moment for me personally. Not only does it make me feel so proud to work for a company that cares about and supports instilling positive, healthy habits in kids, but it also made me realize that it doesn’t take much to give kids the right idea about healthy living. I can’t wait to volunteer for the next Marathon Kids event!