Fifth graders in the Cherry Creek School District have embraced the new 5th Gear Kids program in a big way. More than 400 fifth grade students, along with 800 of their parents and family members, attended the 5th Gear Kids Kick-off Party on Oct. 19 at Family Sports Center.
“It was pretty cool,” said Brandon Lorberau, a fifth grader at Eastridge Elementary. “The best part was the laser tag.”
Students could also play miniature golf, try the rock climbing wall, play games in the eXerGame Zone, and earn 5th Gear Kids points by visiting different information stations.
“I have 1100 points already,” said Lorberau.
5th Gear Kids is a first of its kind program that teaches fifth graders about energy balance – how to balance fun physical activity with a nutritious diet – to promote energy and good health. Every fifth grade student receives a 5th Gear Kids card that they can use to earn points and prizes and get discounts at participating restaurants and recreation facilities. Their families will also be able to use the card for a 10% discount on all Private Selection foods at King Soopers.
“He’s really excited about choosing healthier foods,” said Lorberau’s mom, Andrea Sperr. “He loves the Nuval scores at King Soopers.”
The 5th Gear Kids program was developed by researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Cherry Creek Schools and Aurora Public Schools. It is funded by a grant from the Colorado Health Foundation.
Dr. Megan Mistler-Jackson, 5th Gear Kids Grant Coordinator for Cherry Creek Schools, said the program targets fifth graders for several important reasons. “Research shows that fifth-graders are at the perfect age to understand and have an opinion about health-related issues and they can impact family decisions. They are also leaders in their schools and can positively influence younger students,” said Mistler-Jackson.
Brandon Lorberau is ready to do just that. “I want to encourage other students to be healthy,” he said.
Many local businesses and community organizations are supporting the 5th Gear Kids program and participated in the kick-off event by offering healthy food samples or sponsoring fun activities. Eastridge Elementary had the most fifth grade students attend the kick-off, so every fifth grader at Eastridge will get a free pass to Family Sports Center. For more information about the 5th Gear Kids program, visit www.5thgearkids.org.