The Queens Center mall in Elmhurst and the Long Island City YMCA teamed up at the shopping mecca on Tuesday to help children see nutrition and exercise as valuable tools for doing well in school.
“We teach them about drinking water, encourage their parents to give them vitamins and to drink things like juice,” said Nancy Polanco, early childhood director at the YMCA. “If we send kids to school full of sugar, we’re not giving them the tools they need.”
Polanco discussed how diet, exercise and education all tie in, talking to the children and quizzing them on seemingly small but very important food facts.
The second half of the session was a workout to music with Kathleen Rahill, a group exercise instructor at the Long Island City YMCA and a personal trainer.
Lastly the children lined up to receive backpacks donated by Queens Center that were filled with other tools children will need when returning to school this week, including pencils, folders and notebooks.