Program trades bikes for exercise

August 6, 2011 • Local News

2 1/2-year-old Iris Curiel is lifted onto the seat of her new tricycle by big sister Guadaulupe, 9, and brother Saul, 10, during a toy drawing and giveaway presented by Healthy Kids Chaves County Friday afternoon at the Cahoon [auth] Park swimming pool. (Mark Wilson Photo)

Who knew children could be rewarded for doing their favorite summer activities, such as swimming, playing games and visiting the park? Thanks to the Healthy Kids of Chaves County program, children won prizes for doing just that during a prize drawing at the Cahoon Park Pool, Friday.

All prizes were donated by local businesses and included soccer balls, backpacks, and coloring books.

But it was a shiny new tricycle and bicycle that many of the children were looking forward to winning. Jimmy Masters, a health educator for the New Mexico Department of Health, said the initiative began earlier this summer when worksheets became available for area children to pick up at several participating locations around town.

The worksheets included a variety of activities that focused on keeping children in motion. When a child would complete an activity, he or she would get the worksheet stamped.

Worksheet activities included bowling, touring museums and swimming. Masters said a completed worksheet must have 12 stamps to be eligible to enter the drawing and that participants could complete as many worksheets as they desired.

“The whole idea is to be active, be healthy, be safe,” Masters said. The Curiel family attended the prize drawing. They all gasped in delight when 2-year-old Iris Curiel’s name was called and she was handed a new tricycle.

The tot’s mother, Juana Curiel, said her children enjoy outdoor activities and going to Bottomless Lakes State Park.

“I try to keep my kids active (and) lead a healthy life,” Curiel said. Josue Carranza, 10, won the bicycle, and says though he knows how to ride a bike, he did not have one of his own.

One of his favorite activities is to go to the Boys & Girls Club with his older siblings.

“We … play a few games, like basketball, swimming, and we run.”

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