NIMHD Sponsors Bike Safety, Healthy Eating Classes on Take Your Child to Work Day
As part of NIH Take Your Child to Work Day 2014, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) sponsored Smart Cycling clinics to provide children an opportunity to learn the basic skills of bicycle safety and Micro Chef classes to teach them the importance of eating healthy.
On the warm spring day of April 24th, Dr. Dorothy Castille, Health Scientist Administrator, Division of Scientific Programs (DSP), NIMHD, taught two beginner-level classes for students in grades 2–6 and one intermediate-level class for students in grades 7 and 8. The children learned the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet, how to recognize traffic signs and signals, how to behave in a safe manner while riding a bicycle, and other cycling safety tips.
Held on NIH’s main campus, the classes provided an interactive learning experience in helmet safety checks where children learned and were assessed for correct helmet fit. They also participated in on-bicycle training to practice safe cycling skills. Bicycles and helmets were provided by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Safe Routes to School Program.
“Bicycles are a source of enjoyment and entertainment for children; bikes also provide them with mobility, a way to visit friends, and to explore their surroundings,” said Dr. Castille. “A bicycle is actually a non-motorized vehicle and just like driving a motorized vehicle, there are responsibilities that go along with it to ensure personal safety as well as the safety of others. That’s why it is so important to teach children the basic principles of bicycle safety.”
Dr. Castille, an avid bicycler, is certified by the League of American Bicyclists as a League Cycling Instructor and Coach and a member of the NIH Bicycle Commuters Club. She was assisted by Lesly Jones, Cycling Instructor, League of American Bicyclists, and leader with Black Women Bike; Tammy Reddick, Program Analyst, Division of Data Management and Scientific Reporting (DDMSR), NIMHD; and Kennedy Robinson, daughter of Kaneisha Bailey, former Grants Management Specialist, Office of Extramural Research Administration, NIMHD. Approximately 45 children participated in the classes.
In addition to the Smart Cycling classes, NIMHD hosted two Micro Chef: Adventures in Healthy Eating classes for students in grades 1–5 and grades 6–8 at the NIMHD headquarters. Through a series of hands-on activities and videos, Kesi Williams, Program Analyst, DSP, NIMHD, lead children in learning the importance of balanced diets and nutritious snacks for growing strong and staying healthy.
The chefs-in-training also learned how to read and understand nutritional labels and to apply that understanding to make good food choices and create and sample healthy snacks. The children received chef hats and recyclable grocery bags. With approximately 27 children participating in the classes, Mrs. Williams was assisted by Dr. Shelia McClure, Program Officer, DSP, NIMHD; Phuong-Tu Le, Program Analyst, Office of Strategic Planning, Legislation, and Scientific Policy, NIMHD; Adelaida Hoyos, Health Specialist, DSP, NIMHD; and Ligia Artiles, Program Analyst, DSP, NIMHD.
Children who took part in a Smart Cycling clinic or Micro Chef class received certificates of participation signed by Dr. Yvonne T. Maddox, Acting Director, NIMHD.