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P.A.L. Is Looking for PHAT Kids

The Police Activities League is launching a program targeting childhood obesity and nutrition.

Recent studies show that nearly 30 percent of our community’s youth are overweight or obese. This could be the first generation of youth that may have a shorter life expectancy compared to their parents, according to P.A.L. Executive Director Tom Cronin.

To combat these rising rates, P.A.L. has launched the PHAT (Personal Health Academy for Teens) after-school program to educate middle schoolers about living a healthy lifestyle. P.A.L. is a non-profit community organization that provides alternative programs to at-risk and economically challenged youth.

From 3:45 to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 25 middle schoolers will meet at the P.A.L. community Center near to munch on a healthy snack, have an educational hour and then an active hour of karate, boxing or hip hop dance.

There are currently 10 more slots available.

The fee is $25 per student a month to ensure that families are invested in the program. Funding of $35,000 from the , $20,000 from the Berry Foundation and $10,000 from has helped make the program sustainable.

However, some community members suggested that this may not be the biggest bang for P.A.L.'s buck, with over $60,000 being spent on 25 students at a time.

“This is a pilot program, so we’re open to any suggestions and changes,” Cronin said.

The cost is due to the highly comprehensive nature of the program, hiring GROW (Global Resiliency Outreach Work), an educational program that already has the curriculum in place.

Another concern that also arose was the transportation issue. Shuttling the middle schoolers to the program could present the biggest problem. And because Taft is only a K-5 school, the program can't draw on this student population.

The idea is not to target one aspect of fighting the childhood obesity problem, but to educate the child about all facets of maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.

For more information, contact Tom Cronin at 650-556-1650 ext. 11 or at tomcronin@redwoodcitypal.com

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