Project Power helps connect kids

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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An after-school program is virtually ready to help kids struggling with diabetes to connect with others facing the same challenges.

The American Diabetes Association is hosting a free at-home, after-school experience called “Project Power.” This online experience is for kids ages 7 to 13.

The goal of this program is three-fold. The first is to educate students that are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, as well as their families. The second is to engage the students and their families in interactive physical activities and nutrition education sessions throughout the fall. Lastly, Project Power will connect these youth to reduce feelings of isolation, increase social skills, and improve confidence and independence in healthy eating and active lifestyles.

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“Through a blend of fun activities and wellness education, the program emphasizes ways for children to begin and maintain healthy habits for a lifetime,” said Jonell McDonnell, the ADA director of development for Virginia/West Virginia/North Carolina East Territory. “Led by a trained counselor, the children meet virtually twice weekly and participate in group meetings, fun lessons, physical activity, games, friendly competitions, and more.”

Since this program is online, students will receive a free activity box to help them engage in the activities. The package will include an ADA T-shirt, tote bag, water bottle, activity journal, portion plate, jump rope and more. Non-digital sessions are also available for those without the proper resources.

“We have had a great turnout, with over 600 youth currently registered,” said McDonnell.

During the virtual program, there will be many interactive activities for the students and even the rest of the family to be involved in throughout the month. Virtual cabins will be led by counselors and include students from across the country for discussions, games and other positive interactions. There will also be weekly challenges hosted on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

This camp will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and 1 p.m. on Saturdays Nov. 3-21. The ADA is also looking for counselors, over the age of 18, who want to make a difference and engage with the participating students.

Register for the second session or to be a counselor at