One of the best aspects of my job as an education beat reporter was the ability to interview kids of all ages and backgrounds about subjects ranging from gummy bears to how what they were learning in the classroom could be applied to everyday life.
In the eight years of that job, I would guess I interviewed hundreds if not thousands of students. I also wrote about services and programs designed to help kids live healthy, safe, happy and complete lives. I loved being able to write about events and programs happening in my community that were making a true difference in the lives of people who have so much hope and potential.
It was with this mindset that I went to my very first Abbott Nutrition RazorFest (put on by Champions for Kids), which was at the University of Arkansas’ Reynolds Razorback Stadium. I wasn’t sure what to expect entirely even though I had been told it would be filled with booths and activities geared towards helping kids lead healthy, happy lives (I will share more about ways you can get involved at the end…keep reading!)
To be honest, I kind of thought it might be one big commercial for sponsoring brands but I could not have been more wrong. Yes, the names of companies were well established, but I truly felt like the focus was on:
- providing a fun time for kids in the moment
- educating the public on ways to help their own families (including the furbabies!) be healthier and happier, and
- demonstrating ways to get involved in community service that helps kids of all ages.
The whole child
As I went around to various booths and soaked in various parts of RazorFest, I couldn’t help but notice that they addressed the “whole child.” I’m not usually the “it takes a village” zen types but I do believe very adamantly that like adults, children of all ages must be seen as a whole person. What happens in one aspect of their life has an effect on everything else.
For example, a child that doesn’t have enough healthy food to eat is not only hungry, he can’t concentrate at school (have you ever tried to work when your tummy growled?). A child who can’t concentrate will not perform as well in school. This easily leads to potential behavior problems as the child acts out the frustration and emotional problems can develop.
Even children who seem to have it “all” need these kinds of events. I was impressed that Razorfest addressed obvious issues like hunger, emotional health, physical activity and other basics, but the event also had information about ways that children can develop their talents and interests. There was everything from singing groups to information on gun safety for kids (hey, we live in the South y’all!).
There was something else I noticed that surprised me. Not one person looked bored or cranky. I was there at the tail end of the event and figured there would be at least one adult that had the clear “get me out of here” look or a crying child. Nada. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and acted like they wanted to be there. (By the way, I heard later the event had about 50,000 in attendance for a four-hour event. That’s a lotta folks!)
Although I didn’t record names, I did ask people of various roles at the event why they thought the event itself is important and why their personal involvement was important. I loved the answers I got:
From a sports anchor from a sponsoring television station: It’s important for kids and families to be able to interact with people that they may see on TV to see that they are real people and that those people on TV want to be involved in their lives. It’s important for the TV people to spend time with people who welcome them into their homes to thank them and simply as people, be involved in the community in which they live.
From a representative from a local non-profit: RazorFest gives non-profits the ability to share about what they do and “friend raise” instead of fundraise. They can educate people about their services so that the public can either partake in those services or volunteer to help others.
From kids of various ages (6-11): RazorFest is fun because it lets us play and meet cool people (like athletes and other famous people there for autographs). It shows us stuff that we can do that we didn’t really know was out there.
From several different parents: RazorFest lets us do something fun as a family and show our kids spending time with them is important. I especially appreciated comments from a mom with a daughter who has the same birth defect I do. She said that the event had activities that didn’t make her daughter feel “disabled.” In other words, they weren’t geared for special needs kids or otherwise designed to set her apart. They found a way to help the girl participate with the rest of the crowd with no embarrassing fuss.
You can be a Champion for Kids
As I said earlier, this event was put on by Champions for Kids, which is a non-profit focused on meeting the escalating needs of children in our communities. Champions for Kids wants to make it SIMPLE for anyone to get involved so they’ve established SIMPLE Service Projects.
Participants are asked to gather people in their community, choose a project, do the project and report back on how the project went. Easy peasy.
Like RazorFest, the SIMPLE Service Projects are categorized in a way that makes sure that all aspects of the child are being reached. There are projects that address safety, hunger, health, physical activity, and mental stimulation and learning. Potential projects include everything from gathering coupons for items children and families need to food drives or book drives.
Want to learn more? I highly recommend following Champions for Kids on their various social media accounts. If you’re more of a Facebook person, you can find them here. Tweeting your thing? Follow Champions for Kids here. (I follow them both places and don’t feel overwhelmed with repeated information.)
So what are you going to do to make a difference?
“I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Champions For Kids. Although this is a sponsored post, all the opinions expressed are my own thoughts (and are what I really think!) #cbias #SocialFabric