By Jessica Militello
On Saturday, December 15, 2018, Active Plus teamed up with community service group, New York State of Mind, for their 4th annual “Holiday Mania,” a free event held in East Harlem for families in the community to enjoy an afternoon of fun activities, food, and toys for kids in the spirit of the holiday season.
“Holiday Mania” took place at the Jackie Robinson Educational Complex on 1573 Madison avenue from 2pm-4:45pm. A line of families wrapped around the block to attend the event which included sponsors from Harlem Rotary, The East Harlem Tutorial Program, Affinity Health Plan, and more. Active Plus members spent the afternoon treating kids to basketball, football, soccer, spikeball, and an obstacle course. Keeping with the holiday theme of the event, Active Plus gave kids a prize after they completed the course.
The obstacle course featured an agility ladder that promotes foot speed and coordination, sprinting, as well as hurdles that emphasize flexibility. For many kids, like Nathanial, age 9, the obstacle course was their favorite part.
“I thought it was fun, “said Nathanial, “My favorite part were the hurdle jumps.”
With the large space available, NYSoM decided to take advantage of the amount of people anticipated to come. Active Plus got on board to add health and fitness to a time of year that is more known for putting workouts on hold for holiday shopping and Christmas cookies.
“We anticipated a large turnout for the event,” said Paul Dawkins of NYSoM. “Given that the venue had a large outdoor playground, The Harlem Rotary Club recommended Active Plus to lead outdoor activities to service the amount of kids who would be attending.”
It was also a chance for parents at the event to become familiar with Active Plus’ mission to keep kids fit which can certainly be a challenge during cold winters in the city. One parent was particularly impressed by the inclusion of fitness into the event.
“Thank God I got here early because the line is way around the corner,” said Kathy, who came with her kids. “It was really nice, especially this [obstacle course], because it’s hard to get them involved in my workout routine. They think it’s so boring, until I start doing something cool. But look at them now, running around.”
Over 600 people attended “Holiday Mania” with the purpose of celebrating all holidays in the month of December. NYSoM had some of their volunteers dressed up as figures such as Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, Lady New Year’s, Frosty the Snowman, Dreidels, and of course, Santa Claus. Overall, the event was successful in serving the community and helping others.