LIVINGSTON, NJ — Local families are invited to the West Essex YMCA on Saturday, April 21 for Healthy Kids Day, a free, fun-filled event designed to inspire children and their parents to engage their bodies and minds all summer long.

West Essex YMCA Associate Executive Director Joanne Browne said the goal of Healhty Kids Day is to spark families’ imaginations and inspire them to make healthy choices.

“Healthy Kids Day is a terrific family outing that also serves as a catalyst for planning an active summer,” said West Essex YMCA Executive Director Helen Flores. “Children who set goals for growth thrive and start the new school year from a place of strength.”

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From 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m, families can enjoy STEM activities, make recycled crafts, test their fitness on an inflatable obstacle course, try yoga, watch CPR demonstrations and enjoy healthy snacks. New York Life Insurance Company will provide free child identification cards.

According to Flores, research shows that inactivity over the summer causes children to fall behind academically and gain weight twice as fast as compared to the school year.

As part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Y is urging adults to participate in Five Days of Action, from April 16 to April 20, and to learn how to identify and address child sexual abuse. According to the Y, 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 in the lobby. The campaign includes a major social media component using the hashtag #5DaysofAction. For more information, visit http://www.metroymcas.org/preventnow.

Healthy Kids Day will be held at the YMCA, 321 S. Livingston Avenue, rain or shine and is open to the public. For more information, visit westessexymca.org or call 973-992-7500.