At first, LaTasha Henderson felt bad for sending her seven-year-old son, Dedrick, to the Tampa Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention (SLLP) program. But when she realized SLLP incorporated sports and fun activities into the curriculum, she says, “Through play, he got to learn. The playing element was huge for him; educational and character-building.” After spending the summer engaged in literacy work, enrichment activities and field trips, Dedrick is now in gifted classes with stronger reading and retention skills than ever. “I’ve seen a definite improvement in him. It’s so wonderful just to see him learn and grow and retain it,” says LaTasha. “He is picking up books more often. He is sounding things out, without us prompting him to. He takes more initiative now.”
The healthy living curriculum really resonated with Dedrick. “She taught us the good things to eat and things we shouldn’t eat. Calcium is good for your body and healthy and your bones get strong,” recalls Dedrick. “We learned 5-2-1-Almost None. Five means 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, two means 2 hours in front of a screen and one is 1 hour of playing and almost none means almost no sugary drinks.” Not only can Dedrick repeat the 5-2-1-Almost None formula verbatim but LaTasha says, “He came home and he explained it and he quizzed us. We started right away.”
During National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the Tampa Y wants families to understand the lifetime benefits of healthy eating and active living. That’s why we incorporate physical activity and healthy eating in all our out-of-school programs. We believe if these healthy habits are brought home, they will carry over to when children are out of their parents’ care and that will dramatically help reduce obesity in our community.
Pictured above: Dedrick Henderson is in gifted classes now after attending the Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention (SLLP) program.