Santa Maria Teens Receive Lesson in Health, Fitness

April 21, 2015
santa maria kids

Santa Maria Times
Brian Bullock
Photo: Daniel Dreifuss

Project Teen Health is a program designed to combat childhood obesity. Santa Maria High School students found out that can be fun, too.

Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO) has been holding annual health fairs at Arroyo Grande High School for several years. On Monday, the organization brought the program to Santa Maria High.

Vendors Community Health Centers, the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley, CenCal Health, Cal Fresh, University of California Cooperative Extension, Grizzly Youth Academy and others were on hand to tell students about their services.

Students could learn valuable facts about nutrition and fitness, find out where in town they can work out, and discover some programs or organizations they might not have known about. It was all in the name of getting or staying fit.

"I think a lot of people need to know the importance of it," said Verena Santillan, a sophomore at Santa Maria High, who was checking out all of the vendors in the high school gym with her friend Alyssa Vaz.

One of those vendors was Cal Skate Roller Derby, a recreational roller derby league for women.

"I love to roller skate, but I wouldn't want to do the team thing," Vaz said. "We're very athletic girls, but I don't know about that."

Project Teen Fitness is a new club on the Santa Maria High campus this year. It offers students nutrition counseling and after-school fitness programs, according to Jenna Miller, who coordinates the program for CAPSLO.

"It's incredible the amount of interest on the part of the students," she said. "The students are engaged and enthusiastic about sharing the information with their peers."

The club holds weekly lunchtime meetings and then after-school activities such as Zumba, taught by Charley Newel and Maribel Guerra, yoga and training. The Zumba workouts have been incredibly popular, along with the running workouts.

Club members have participated in several 5-kilometer runs already, including the SLO Color Blast Run in January. Members are currently training for the May 16 Bull Canyon Run.

"We have new people who (joined the club) for the physical education credit and now they just come every day," said Sofia Altamirano, a sophomore and member of Project Teen Health club.

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