MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The South Mountain YMCA is hosting Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 21, which organizers describe as "a free, fun-packed event to inspire children and their parents to engage their bodies and minds all summer long." 

Sponsored by Stop & Shop, Trader Joe’s and Tropicana, the event is open to the public.

The event, which is from noon to 3 p.m., will feature a climbing wall and fitness obstacle course, as well as healthy snacks and a bounce house for younger children.

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“We believe in the potential of all children and strive to help kids find that within themselves. Healthy Kids Day is a fantastic opportunity to inspire kids and families to keep their minds and bodies active throughout the summer,” South Mountain YMCA Executive Director James Goodger said. Research shows inactivity causes children to fall behind academically and gain weight twice as fast during the summer as compared to the school year, he noted.

As part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the South Mountain YMCA is urging adults to participate in Five Days of Action, April 16 to April 20, and learn how to identify and address child sexual abuse. The problem is pervasive: one out of every 10 children is sexually abused, and in 90 percent of cases, the child knows and trusts the abuser.

As part of the “Step Up & Speak Out” campaign, YMCA members are asked to learn the facts about child sexual abuse, share tools and resources, and sign the Pledge to Protect Children at the Y’s welcome center or Early Childhood Learning Center. The campaign includes a major social media component using the hashtag #5DaysofAction. For more information, go to http://www.metroymcas.org/preventnow.

The South Mountain YMCA is a branch of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. Metro Y President and CEO Richard K. Gorab belongs to YMCA Guardians for Child Protection, a group of Y leaders who are spearheading the awareness movement.

Healthy Kids Day will be held at the YMCA, 13 Jefferson Ave., rain or shine. For more information, visit http://www.smountainymca.org or call 973-762-4145.

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ABOUT THE Y

Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hackensack, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 35,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.