For more than 160 years, the YMCA of Central Kentucky has been on the forefront of making our community a healthier place to work and live.
From providing youth sports programming, to group exercise fitness classes, to helping combat chronic health diseases like diabetes, we focus on helping people live better.
Since Lexmark's founding in 1991, one of our key guiding values is a commitment to give back to the communities where our employees work and live, around the world and here in Lexington. This commitment includes our long-standing collaboration with the North Lexington YMCA and supporting the north side of Lexington.
On Sept. 12, we're doing something that hits right at the heart of both organizations' missions in an extraordinary way.
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We're going to build a new playground at our North Lexington Family YMCA near the trailhead of the Legacy Trail, one that gives families, especially underserved Northside families, a place where their kids can run, play and have fun outdoors. In other words, just be kids.
But a playground is so much more than just a place for kids to run, jump and climb. It symbolizes healthy living at an early age, and thus reinforces key initiatives to help fight many of the health issues affecting children today. It's a garden for growing healthier kids and families.
The facts are out there: Today a kid is six times more likely to play a video game than play outside. Forty-nine percent of all preschoolers are not taken outdoors daily to play in the fresh air. In fact, 42 percent don't go outside with their parents at all for outdoor play.
Yet, research shows, kids who play outdoors regularly are healthier. Obviously, kids who are more active tend to burn more calories than those who are sedentary — which is a big factor in fighting childhood obesity.
But there also is research showing a strong link between play and major developmental milestones such as brain development, motor skills and social interactions. Quite simply, all of these things are accelerated by play.
These are strong reasons why this playground is so important to this community. Both organizations would like to thank those who are helping make this one-day playground blitz possible including Kaboom!, a national nonprofit that helps fund playground builds across the country, Ford Motor Fund, which provided the necessary matching grant to make the playground possible, and the Lexington Homebuilders Association, which is providing supervision and expertise to more than 100 volunteers.
If you have an interest in learning more about this project and how you can help on Friday, please visit ymcacky.org/playground.