“Reading is a way to travel in your mind,” said Cornell McClellan, the First Family’s Nutrition and Fitness Trainer, to over 130 students from DC area schools, camps, and youth programs yesterday at the first of ED’s four part Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series.
McClellan joined Secretary Arne Duncan and Sam Kass, assistant chef and senior policy advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives at the White House, to read and talk to more than 100 local children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and learning over the summer. Students Jaden McDowell and Kylie Peterson, from DC’s United Planning Organization, had the honor of introducing the secretary and his guests to kick off the activities.
Kass read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and described the balanced meals he cooks for the First Family, while McClellan chose Jonathan London’s Froggy Learns to Swim. “It’s important to just move because almost any activity that you enjoy can be used as a fun exercise,” said McClellan before starting the Let’s Move! portion of the event.
Secretary Duncan, Kass, and McClellan, led the students outside for games and fitness activities. “If you exercise more, I actually think you do better in school,” Duncan said.
The children participated in games and fitness activities directed by ED’s partner, the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington Physical, Healthy, Drive (PHD) program. Kass and McClellan joined the students in a shopping cart nutrition relay while the secretary shot some hoops with children. Each child also received a book bag and a book of their choice while they snacked on fresh fruit, granola bars, and water.
In addition to Sam Kass and Cornell McClellan, Susan Hildreth, the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, also joined Secretary Duncan for today’s event. Today’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! event was the first of four events to be held at ED this summer to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, which promotes healthy eating and an active lifestyle, while also encouraging summer reading and adults reading to children.
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Additional Let’s Read! Let’s Move! Events are scheduled for July 18th, July 25th, and July 30th.
Cydney Adams is a student at the University of Georgia and an intern in ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach.