Since the inaugural year of 2009, the MHRC Young Professionals Board has supported the UAB Happy Healthy Kids program with the proceeds from the annual All In Casino Royale fundraising event. The Healthy Happy Kids program was designed by the MHRC to tackle childhood obesity and it provides the unique opportunity to engage the children of many Birmingham-area elementary schools in low-income communities.
The All In Casino Royale has attracted more than 2,000 young professionals, business and community leaders from the region, and has raised more than $210,000. To date, with these funds raised by our board and through other community support, Healthy Happy Kids has been implemented in 15 Birmingham City Schools and has reached over 1,000 young students.
More About the Healthy Happy Kids Program
Starting young to fight the epidemic by teaching good habits, the Healthy Happy Kids (HHK) program shows children how healthy eating and daily exercise are essential lifestyle choices to protecting their health. In six hands-on sessions designed for use in Birmingham City Schools’ after-school programs, children in kindergarten through seventh grade explore healthy foods through touch, feel, and taste and discover new ways to be active, both alone and in groups, using tried-and-true activities.
The children take the message home with a backpack full of support with items such as: T-shirt, jump rope, calorie counter, Frisbee, and refrigerator magnets with a reminder to each healthy and stay active. Not only do these take-home items help to engage the child moving forward, the entire household has a chance to benefit.
After a pilot effort in three inner-city schools in Birmingham and one after-school program in Leeds, the HHK program was implemented in two schools in West End, reaching more than 400 children. Today the program has expanded into 15 schools and has reached over 1,000 children, and growing!
Michelle Obama visits Birmingham’s Healthy Happy Kids program activities, giving the program national recognition as one that coincides with her national “Let’s Move!” campaign!
UAB Minority Health Young Professionals Board
1530 3rd Avenue South MT 512H
Birmingham, AL 35294-4410