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Project Fit America Teams Up With Dexter Community Schools to Promote Fitness Among Students

Creekside Intermediate School and Wylie Elementary School received a grant from the Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation to install new playground equipment.

Parents and students at Dexter Community Schools got a chance to try out new fitness equipment at Creekside Intermediate School this weekend during a launch party to promote the district's Move Forward program.

"The new indoor and outdoor equipment is a great addition to Dexter," Cheryl McLean, Move Forward coordinator said. "Our goal is to get Dexter students and families to move more and eat healthy through good nutrition and moderate exercise in a healthy, fun and sustainable approach."

The Project Fit America equipment was installed in 2011 and features seven outdoor stations to increase upper body, lower body and abdominal strength — including pull up bars and a climbing area.

Along with the outdoor equipment, Project Fit America also provided a curriculum with fitness games and challenges, McLean said.

Dexter received a two-year $90,000 grant from the Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation (CWF) to purchase the new equipment.

"Dexter excels at installing infrastructure to promote healthy lifestyles," Amy Heydlauff, executive director of the CWF said. "A lot of what Dexter is doing focuses on kids' health, and they will see that focus pay off in the future."

Members of the Move Forward Advisory Council, the Creekside Intermediate and Wylie Elementary staff, students, district officials, and representatives from the CWF and Chelsea Community Hospital were on hand to dedicate the equipment. In addition, the Detroit Tigers’ mascot, Paws, and Buddy Shaw, a contestant on the NBC reality television show The Biggest Loser, also attended the event.

"I think it's awesome to see Dexter promoting programs that emphasize healthy living in order to combat rising obesity among today's youth," he said.

Shaw recalled his time on the reality show, characterizing the experience as "mentally, physically and emotionally draining." However, he said he's grateful for the opportunity.

"I was the heaviest man on the show," he said. "My advice for anyone who wants to lose weight is to make a commitment to being healthy, get a system of diet and exercise that works for you and make sure you have people who can help support your fitness goals."

The Wayne resident said his two daughters were his biggest inspiration for shedding nearly 173 pounds.

"I decided that I want to be around 20 years from now to walk my daughters down the aisle at their weddings," Shaw said.

Dexter resident Mark Olexa said he was impressed with the new equipment and hopes the community will take advantage of it, especially in the summer when schools are on summer break.

"The more we can help promote the importance of eating better and moving more, the more our community benefits," Olexa said.

For adults who’d like to start working out, McLean said, “It’s never too late to get healthy for your family, and the Dexter Community does offer support.”

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