Ten years ago, Janice James of Youth For A Cleaner Environment started the Healthy Kids First Program. She says the initiative came out of a growing and alarming increase in childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes. She also felt our communities were “plagued by youth with poor diets, poor eating habits and lack of adequate physical activity, that have led to diseases once prevalent among adults.”

But while she knew there was an issue with children's health, what really made her take notice were the children in her YFACE program who started having health issues as well. She says she noticed kids as young as 10 and older teens with issues like high blood pressure, juvenile diabetes, obesity, heart problems, depression and more.

And she decided to the best way to raise awareness was to sponsor a walk and health fair for the community.

This year’s annual Healthy Kids First Health Awareness Fair and Kids Luv Your Heart Walk will take place from 9 a.m. to 1p.m. Aug. 25 at Forsyth Park near the bandshell. The event features a walk, health fair, live entertainment, cooking demonstrations and “the famous” Hula hoop and jump rope contests.

James says the mission of this event is to heighten awareness in the community of the serious consequences of childhood obesity and to show children how to get involved in fun activities to promote healthier lifestyles.

Some of the scheduled live entertainment for the morning includes Kimberly Gunn of Love & Soul Experience, DJ Bluescreen and local dance groups. There will also be free school supply giveaways and healthy food samples.