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Radio station promotes exercise for students

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

The room was full of energy and excitement as elementary students and teachers gathered in the school's gymnasium, waiting for representatives of a popular, children's radio station to "get them moving."

Radio Disney AM 590 was promoting the "Move It!" youth fitness program at Riverdale Elementary Tuesday.

During the program, an estimated 50 students poured into the gym and energetically followed exercise routines led by Angela Scherr, promotions coordinator for Radio Disney AM 590.

"It is a great program that reinforces what coaches in elementary schools are trying to teach, and motivate their kids," said Scherr.

"The highlight of the program for me was when they got everybody up and moving, enjoying, and having a good time," said Jo Jackson, the health and physical education coordinator for Clayton County Public Schools. "All the movement and exercise helps you do better in the classroom, because, here in Clayton County, movement is the door to learning."

"We definitely got positive feedback on the encouragement of Radio Disney coming in," Scherr said.

Vanessa Bridges, a parent volunteer at Riverdale Elementary, was a key component in connecting Radio Disney with the school.

"My daughter listens to Radio Disney a lot, and I heard about the 'Move It!' program on the radio," Bridges said. "I contacted the promotional department, and that's how I got in touch with Angela."

Bridges said she also contacted Sherry Crews, a physical education teacher at Riverdale Elementary, to bring the program to the school.

"Move It!" is a program that entertains elementary pupils from kindergarten through fifth grade, as they learn the importance of having an active lifestyle.

Riverdale Elementary focused on students in the third, fourth and fifth grades, because many of them didn't score well on the Presidential Physical Fitness Testing Challenge taken last fall.

"It's not really a pass or fail, but the majority of our students didn't score high enough for a national certificate," Crews said.

Different exercise ideas were shared with the students, and Scherr emphasized the importance of being active and healthy.

"Angela talked about different areas where you can exercise," Crews said. "It doesn't, necessarily, have to be in the school setting, but they can exercise with a friend, by yourself, anywhere. It doesn't have to be hard, especially for the young kids."

Students at Riverdale, and elsewhere, find themselves attracted to computer-generated, video games or television, school officials said. As a result, many spend more time indoors than outdoors.

"There's more playing with Nintendos and games, and that kind of thing, plus children don't go outside to play anymore," said Jackson.

"Some are not allowed to play outside," Jackson added, "because some of those are latchkey children, and they are suppose to stay home until mom or dad come home from work."