“Books” and “fitness” were the words of the day for many Richmond families Saturday afternoon as they strolled a sunny Civic Center plaza learning about both. While children combed vendor tents for new and exciting books to take home, and exercised in a play station provided by Kaiser Permanente, parents had the opportunity to measure their blood pressure and gain new information about diabetes. The outdoor activities and information sharing was part of the fifth annual Richmond Tales Fest: An Afternoon of Family Literacy and Healthy Living.
Kevin Hufferd, event coordinator and chair of West County Reads said the idea was to create a fun festival around the theme of Richmond Tales—a book that has caught the imagination of local young people, he said.
Glenda Monterroza, a community benefit specialist at Kaiser Permanente, said the event last year drew about 1,000 people and distributed 3,000 books. This year the local hospital wanted to introduce the concept of a Screen-Free Week—seven days of unplugging from TVs, DVDs, video and mobile games and only using computers for work, she said.
“We’re seeing diabetes in earlier ages,” Kaiser Permanente doctor Leticia Aguilera said about the Latino and African American communities. “Diabetes used to hit people when they’re 50 and 60 years old. Now we have kids who are 12 and 13 years old who are diabetic. It’s important to be active physically, but also mentally—read food labels.”
Peres Elementary fourth grader Kevin Silva spent part of his afternoon crawling through a tunnel, jumping and touching his knees four or five times and kicking a super-size soccer ball. When asked what he learned by performing such physical activities, the nine-year-old responded in Spanish, “Eating fruits and vegetables is important.”