More than 100 volunteers tended to elementary school gardens in Redondo Beach Thursday as part of Beach Cities Health District’s (BCHD) Beach Cities Volunteer Day.
BCHD took the opportunity to recognize some outstanding community members during the kick-off event. Following their active participation in BCHD’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts, the Redondo Beach Fire Department was presented with the District’s “Partner in Health” Award, and RBFD’s Division Chief Issac Yang was singled out and received BCHD’s “Committed to Community” honor. Kina Desai, a junior at Mira Costa High School and a member of BCHD’s Youth Advisory Council from Hermosa Beach, was presented with the “Committed to Community Youth” award.
For the 2022 event, community members, organizations, parents and students volunteered alongside BCHD staffers in eight LiveWell Kids gardens. LiveWell Kids is a program which works to prevent childhood obesity through hands-on gardening and nutrition lessons. Volunteers harvested vegetables, planted seeds, pulled weeds and cleaned areas to prepare the gardens for the upcoming school year.
“LiveWell Kids has helped make Redondo Beach students healthier for over a decade, largely due to the great work done by our enthusiastic army of volunteers who help with this mission,” said Beach Cities Health District CEO Tom Bakaly. “Kids in our community benefit, our volunteers benefit and we’re grateful for the great support we receive for the LiveWell Kids gardens and our other programs.”
LiveWell Kids was created in 2005 in response to an alarmingly high rate of obesity at the time – more than one in five Redondo Beach elementary school students was obese. Today, thanks to a steady diet of LiveWell Kids programming in Redondo Beach elementary schools, the obesity rate (grades K-5) is now 7.9 percent. By contrast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report obesity prevalence among 6-to-11-year-olds is 20.7 percent nationally.
When school resumes, so will the regularly scheduled farm-to-table lessons, physical activity breaks and mindfulness practices delivered to more than 6,000 children by BCHD volunteers (in-person and virtually). Programming is implemented in partnership with Redondo Beach Unified and Hermosa Beach City School Districts. Manhattan Beach partners with local organization Growing Great for its nutrition program.
Volunteers worked at gardens at the following elementary schools Thursday:
• Alta Vista
• Beryl Heights
Hermosa Beach Volunteer Opportunity Aug. 31
Another participating school in the LiveWell Kids program, Hermosa View Elementary School, will hold its garden prep day August 31, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Volunteers interested in helping that day (clearing garden beds, cultivating and amending soil, planting seeds, etc.) can sign up on the BCHD website at www.bchd.org/volunteer.
For more information on LiveWell Kids programming, visit www.bchd.org/livewellkids .