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Potsdam’s Adopt-A-Bear-Cub program receives grant

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POTSDAM - Children participating in the Adopt-A-Bear-Cub program at Lawrence Avenue Elementary School will soon have a wider selection of activities thanks to a grant from the St. Lawrence Health Initiative’s Creating Healthy Places To Live, Work & Play program.

“The idea behind it is to increase active play for kids. The hope is if they’re involved in an after-school program they’ll have some active play time and won’t just be sitting around,” Adopt-A-Bear-Cub Program Coordinator Susan A. Pike said.

Another focus of the Creating Healthy Places program is the inclusion of a healthy snack, but Ms. Pike said that part wasn’t a problem.

“Our snacks are provided by our cafeteria manager, so they’re healthy and adequate, but we felt that the students weren’t getting enough active play time,” she said.

Ms. Pike explained the Adopt-A-Bear-Cub program pairs students from the school with a college student from either SUNY Potsdam or Clarkson for activities two days per week.

“While they’re here they have a snack, work on homework and have time to do an activity with their mentor,” Ms. Pike said, adding that in the past those activities didn’t always include physical activity.

Up until now, Ms. Pike said those activities would typically include coloring, board games or an arts and craft project.

“There weren’t a lot of options for them that involved getting up and moving around,” she said. “With this grant we are going to be able to purchase a number of items that will give students the choice from a number of activities.”

Among the items being purchased with the grant are a giant Snakes and Ladders game, bowling equipment, jump ropes, Hula Hoops and a limbo game.

“Funding for the purchase of physical activity equipment to support a healthy after school environment was received by the Health Initiative’s Creating Healthy Places St. Lawrence County Project, a grant funded by the New York state Department of Health,” Ms. Pike said.

Since the program relies on college students, Ms. Pike said it is on break until the end of January when the college students return to school.

“My hope is the stuff will be here by then,” she said.

Creating Healthy Places Program Director Karen Bage said one of the stipulations is that students now must be physically active for at least 20 percent of time they’re involved with the program.

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