Safe and Sound at Crestwood

By Samantha Tucker samantha@prairiepress.net
Posted 1/27/20

Horizon Health is partnering with Paris schools to teach kids how to stay Safe and Sound, and part of that is showing them fitness is good for the body and mind.

Project Safe and Sound is aimed at …

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Safe and Sound at Crestwood

Posted

Horizon Health is partnering with Paris schools to teach kids how to stay Safe and Sound, and part of that is showing them fitness is good for the body and mind.

Project Safe and Sound is aimed at teaching students important life skills such as how to respond to emergencies, gain social skills and keep their bodies fit. EMT Bobby Sinclair, who teaches the monthly classes from school to school, says this is an important supplement for normal academics.

“Just so kids can learn something that’s not necessarily school related, but life related,” Sinclair said.

So far the program has reached more than 1,000 students in Paris. This month’s presentation is Healthy Bodies, led by Sinclair and Horizon Health athletic trainer Ali Antkiewicz. Their most recent stop was Crestwood Elementary. Kids in kindergarten through fifth grade came to the gym between classes and got their hearts pumping with rhythmic stretches and dancercise, set to energetic songs like “Firework” by Katy Perry.

Sinclair and Antkiewicz want students to understand the mental as well as physical benefits of exercise. To do this, they held mood checks before and after the class to help students gage their emotional status coming in and discover whether they felt better or worse afterwards. Most kids said they were in a better mood after their 20-minute dance session. As they left, Sinclair encouraged students to continue monitoring themselves throughout the day to judge whether they were happier or had more energy.

“The best part is, the kids are realizing they feel better,” said Sinclair.

Sure enough, most of them seemed upbeat and energized when they left the gym. He hopes they internalize

that knowledge and continue pursuing fitness outside of school.

Sinclair estimates the active student participation in Healthy Bodies, as in the number of kids engaging with Antkiewicz’s training, to be around 80 percent. Even better is the kids smiling as they stretch, jump and dance. One of Sinclair’s goals for the class was showing them anything active can be exercise, even just having fun to music.

“There’s more than one way to exercise, it’s not just playing sports,” Sinclair said.

The moving and grooving is courtesy of Antkiewicz, this month’s Project Safe and Sound guest instructor who used her experience teaching varsity summer camps to create warmups and exercises that benefit young bodies and keep kids focused. She had a few criteria when assembling the routines.

“I try to keep them simple, upbeat and interesting, and I focus on muscles they aren’t really familiar with but are important to development,” she said.

Despite directing five intense dance routines in an afternoon, Antkiewicz was happy. She loves showing young people outlets for physical activity and working with them is a joy.

“[I enjoy] their energy, they’re always positive,” she said.

Project Safe and Sound was born when Sinclair, a former firefighter who taught Risk Watch at schools, asked teachers what they felt was missing from the program. So far the project has gotten positive responses at schools, and he is hopeful this new course will become a yearly collaboration with the hospital, allowing each grade to build upon the previous year’s information.

“The schools have been so great about letting Horizon Health get in,” Sinclair said.