Healthy habits start early: American Heart Association donates play equipment to BC Center

Left to right: American Heart Association Regional Director Gina Chapman, Professor Carla Michalak, BC Center Director Pam Holland and Deena Price at the donation of outdoor play equipment to the campus childcare center

Left to right: American Heart Association Regional Director Gina Chapman, Professor Carla Michalak, BC Center Director Pam Holland and Deena Price at the donation of outdoor play equipment to the campus childcare center

It didn’t take long for the bats, balls and jump ropes to leave their big red sack, and end up in the hands of some very excited tykes.

Members of SUNY Broome's Heart Walk committee with BC Center Pam Holland and the college's award for participation in the Heart Walk.

Members of SUNY Broome’s Heart Walk committee with BC Center Pam Holland and the college’s award for participation in the Heart Walk.

On June 25, the American Heart Association presented the “recess pack” to the BC Center on the SUNY Broome campus. The licensed childcare center serves the children of SUNY Broome students, as well as faculty, staff and community members.

“We want these kids to go outside, get active and play,” said AHA Regional Director Gina Chapman, as the center’s young charges jumped rope and played Wiffle ball on the playground behind the daycare.

The donation of outdoor play equipment came by way of SUNY Broome’s designation as a Children’s Health Challenge winner following the Southern Tier Heart Walk, which took place in April on campus.

Left to right: American Heart Association Regional Director Gina Chapman, BC Center Director Pam Holland , Professor Carla Michalak, and Deena Price at the donation of outdoor play equipment to the campus childcare center

Left to right: American Heart Association Regional Director Gina Chapman, BC Center Director Pam Holland , Professor Carla Michalak, and Deena Price at the donation of outdoor play equipment to the campus childcare center

To qualify for the designation from the American Heart Association, the college pledged to raise $2,500

The BC Center provides affordable childcare for student parents, as well as faculty, staff and community members.

The BC Center provides affordable childcare for student parents, as well as faculty, staff and community members.

more for the Southern Tier Heart Walk in 2018 than in the previous year. Challenge accepted, challenge completed: The SUNY Broome team raised $6,486 in 2018, up from $3,320 in 2017. Overall, the walk raised more than $268,000 in donations from the community this year.

“Our team was really energized this entire year,” said Professor Carla Michalak, speaking on behalf of the campus committee that organizes the campus’ Heart Walk efforts.

Fundraising events include a volleyball game that pitted students against faculty and staff, a t-shirt sale that netted $2,000, a carnation sale, and a basketball game organized by Professor Ed Yetsko’s Sports Management students. Committee leaders Deena Price and Erin O’Hara-Leslie were instrumental in this year’s success, as well as Jeff Hatala, who played a major role in coordinating the sport events.

Children play outdoors at BC Center

Children play outdoors at BC Center

The Heart Walk effort also coordinates well with the college’s Wellness Challenge, which encourages healthy habits and physical fitness, Michalak said.

She added that the SUNY Broome community also deeply supports the work of the BC Center, which enables student parents to attend class and study while their children enjoy high-quality and affordable child care right on campus.

Making physical activity a habit early in life is important for long-term health outcomes. Studies show that children who are overweight by the age of 12 have a 70 percent chance of staying overweight as an adult – a risk factor for heart disease, Chapman noted.

The BC Center makes an effort to instill a love of movement and keep the children active.

“We try to get them outside every day, no matter the weather,” Director Pam Holland said.