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Addison Swenson, left, and Inez Smith prepare to work out during the 2017 Community Health Action Team’s Kids4Life event at Meherrin River Park.

In January of 2017 the Community Health Action Team began moving from the discussion phase to action. One of those actions was bringing a Healthy Kids Day to Meherrin River Park in an effort to educate children and their caregivers about making healthy choices and begin to turn around the statewide health rankings, which has Emporia and Greensville County listed near the bottom.

Organizers admitted they were a little nervous about that first Kids $ Life event in June of 2017, but not only did Kids 4 Life turn into a smashing success, 135 children and their families completed the eight stations in front of them, nearly doubling the hoped for 75 number organizers were anticipating.

“I was concerned kids wouldn’t show up, then bam, they did,” CHAT leader John Holtkamp said after the 2017 event. “It was a great turnout. It was sunny and the kids enjoyed it.”

The success of the event was enough for CHAT leaders to take the plunge and make it an annual event.

Last year approximately 150 children and their families participated in the event. Rustin Jessee, who coordinated the first two Kids for Life events is hoping to see 200 children to attend this year’s event.

“We’re going to have five stops in the City and County for transportation to bring them to the EGRA Park,” Jessee said. “We are hoping that will entice a few more people to come out.”

The event kicks off at 10 a.m. with children rotating through eight stations of fun and games as well as information about healthy lifestyles through nutrition and exercise. Healthy Kids Day events will continue until noon.

Law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other organizations are expected to play a role in Healthy Kids Day as they have in the past.