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From left to right: Laurie Bell, volunteer; Tessa Garner, Beach Cities Health District parent engagement coordinator; Ali Steward, Beach Cities Health District director of youth services; Jane Diehl, Beach Cities Health District board member, volunteer in a local school garden. (Photo courtesy of BCHD)

Some 150 volunteers from 30 South Bay organizations tended to school gardens in Hermosa and Redondo for the Beach Cities Health District’s 4th Annual Beach Cities Volunteer Day August 8.

Volunteers planted, harvested and weeded to prepare 10 LiveWell Kids gardens for the upcoming school year, according to BCHD. The produce harvested—including tomatoes, squash, lettuce, pumpkins and arugula—was donated to local food banks. 

“We’re in the business of producing the next generation of healthy students and we’re lucky we have an army of more than 1,000 volunteers to help with this mission,” said Tom Bakaly, Beach Cities Health District CEO. 

The garden program, created in 2005 in partnership with Redondo Beach Unified School District, works to prevent childhood obesity through hands-on gardening and nutrition lessons. 

And the program is working, according to BCHD.

When the effort kicked off, more than one of every five Redondo Beach elementary school students was obese. Today, the obesity rate has plummeted by 68 percent, BCHD said in a statement.

Bakaly credited the success of the program to local support. 

“Our programs wouldn’t be effective without the help of our community and we’re thankful for the overwhelming support we receive for our LiveWell Kids gardens and other programs,” the CEO said. 

When school resumes this fall, so will BCHD-coordinated farm-to-table lessons, physical activity breaks and mindfulness practices that keep more than 6,000 youth in Palos Verdes, Hermosa and Redondo schools healthy.

For more information on the LiveWell Kids program, visit bchd.org/livewellkids

 

 

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