The last trip of 2010 for Body Walk was to Jackson County, Pascagoula. It was a FANTASTIC trip. Evelyn Deangelo booked Body Walk for her county. The success of Body Walk depends on how organized an agent is in preparing the way for the exhibit. Evelyn worked with the Assistant Superintendent, Ms. Dammen, representatives from 11 schools and many volunteers to make this project a success in her county. Being set up for a full week and seeing so many students is a huge undertaking and she pulled it off wonderfully.
The exhibit was set up in the Family Interactive Center. This was an ideal facility for Body Walk. The main room was a huge gym with sound and shock absorbing floors. At one end was a stage with a pull down projector screen so the waiting kids could watch an Organwise guys video. Beyond that was a block room full of pieces of wood and small toys were kids could build and create. There was also a wetlands room. The wetlands room was fully painted with murals on all the walls. There was a child sized dock and real boats for the kids to walk on and sit on. These two rooms were great for kids who had finished touring the Body Walk, but still has a long wait before they could get back on the bus to return to school.
We saw over 1200 kids from 11 schools and one homeschool group. We set up on Monday. The superintendent of the Pascagoula school district offered her grounds crew as our set up and take down crew. These gentlemen did a wonderful, fast job of unloading the truck. They listened to every direction, and the exhibit was set up in a very short time. Take down and truck loading was a smooth process as well thanks to their great teamwork performance.
After set up, Evelyn showed me the simple costumes she had made for the volunteers to wear. In the manual, there are costumes suggestions for each station, but wearing a costume is not required. She made simple smocks with a felt picture of the front of a stomach, heart, lungs, and bones. She made tie on muscles for the muscle station, and an ‘intestines’ belt for the small intestines presenter to wear. The felt stomach opened at the top, allowing the presenter to reach inside and pull out pictures of healthy foods. I’m not sure how thrilled the students were with the costumes but the presenters LOVED them.
Tuesday, we saw children from Cherokee, and Martin Bluff elementary school. Wednesday, we saw the 1st and 2nd grade from Eastlawn, College Park, and Beach elementaries, as well as children from the 4-H club homeschool group. Thursday, we saw students from Arlington, Jackson, and Gautier elementaries. Friday, we saw kids from Central, Singing River, and Lake elementaries.
Our volunteers each day were a mix of parents, teaching assistants, and adult volunteers. On Thursday, we also had allied health students serve as presenters in the exhibit. It was a long, exciting week. It was a great way to end 2010. Next year promises to be another great one for Body Walk.
From MSU and Body Walk, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!