Press Releases: Northwest
February 15, 2005
Clark County schoolkids to learn more about healthy eating, physical activity thanks to Kaiser Permanente grant to puppet troupe
Show in Camas on April 19 launches expanded outreach in Washington
VANCOUVER, Wash. – Thanks to a $25,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente, Clark County schoolkids will soon be learning from puppets how to choose healthier snacks and get more exercise so they don’t join the ranks of the overweight. The first of the new shows in Clark County will be at Illahee School in Camas on Tuesday, April 19, with shows at 10 and 10:30 a.m. and 1 and 1:30 p.m.
Kaiser Permanente gave the $25,000 grant to Kids on the Block to expand its educational puppet performances at grade schools in Clark County . Kids on the Block, which performs in front of 70,000 children annually, has performed at fewer than a dozen schools in Clark County over the years. The current school year has seen the Portland-based troupe perform its Healthy Choice: Reducing Childhood Obesity show to only one school (Benjamin Franklin) for 250 students.
"With the funds from Kaiser Permanente, however, we are thrilled to now be able to bring more of our performances to Southwest Washington . We expect to reach 12,000 Clark County students by next summer," says Ned Rosch, executive director of Kids on the Block. He says the grant will help the troupe repair old puppets and purchase new ones, pay for recruitment and training of new puppeteers, and for additional classroom educational materials. Four of the puppeteers – Judy Sunshine, Tia Christopher and identical twin sisters Sally Townend and Nancy Townend-Janney – also live in Vancouver .
Kaiser Permanente’s Chief of Pediatrics, Rasjad Lints, MD, who practices in Vancouver , says combating childhood obesity is the main reason the health care organization is supporting the work of programs like Kids on the Block. "They’ve let thousands of children in Oregon schools know how important it is to be physically active and choose more nutritious snacks over candy and fast food," says Dr. Lints. "Now, with our help, students in Washington will be getting the same message."
To schedule a show at a local grade school, please contact Kids on the Block at (503) 736-3200.
More than 465,000 people in Southwest Washington and Oregon entrust their health to Kaiser Permanente Northwest, a group practice health care organization founded in 1945.