By Samuel Carignan – Contributing Writer
In partnership with UMF Health Promotion students, the Franklin County Children’s Task Force held the Make Tracks for Kids event to raise money to end child abuse and neglect.
On Saturday, October 14th, community members got together to participate in the Make Tracks for Kids event. The program supports children who need help in learning or school activities and works to get them the resources they need. The day featured a 2-mile walk, 5K run, and 1-mile kids run. Through registration fees and donations, the group was able to donate the proceeds to 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N. After School Program.
UMF students in Health 310 also added to the day’s events. The students were tasked with running multiple stations that provided information on nutrition and provided participants with healthy snacks.
Chantal Diamond, a Community Health and Anthropology major, was one of the UMF students involved at Make Tracks for Kids. “My job was to provide nutritional and health guidance and give out snacks. We provided information on how to make healthy snacks on a tight budget,” said Diamond.
Information booths were located both at the Task Force Center and Mt. Blue Middle School. UMF students also set up obstacle courses for children to enjoy. “One was a hoop game, another hopscotch, and a bunch of other little activities to get the kids moving,” said Diamond.
The main events at Make Tracks for Kids were the three runs. Participants could choose between a 2-mile walk or a 5K run and children could race in the 1-mile kids run. The races started at the Task Force Center and went through both Bonny Woods and Flint Woods. Racers enjoyed the beautiful fall colors that the trees of New England are famous for. Although it was a race, as a charity run, the focus was on raising money and awareness for the programs as opposed to the winners of the race.
Bikers Against Child Abuse, a non-profit national organization of motorcyclists, was also in attendance. Their mission at Make Tracks for Kids was to raise awareness for child abuse prevention. Healthy Community Coalition, along with UMF students, helped provide families with health information and snacks.
Make Tracks for Kids has left a positive impact on the community. “I think it definitely [made an impact on] the children. It really gave them a chance to learn a little more about nutrition and health,” said Diamond. The money raised from this event will be used to better the lives of community members, especially children.
Work for the students of Health 310 did not end at the conclusion of the event. UMF students taking the course will use this experience to create a project, presentation, and paper on the process of going through an intervention.
“It teaches us on what we can do better and what we need to focus on in order to make sure an intervention goes smoothly,” said Diamond.