By Melissa Klaric
Herald Staff Writer
The Sharon Children’s Opportunity for Outside Learning, or C.O.O.L., kicked off the summer program Friday with a fun day at Buhl Farm park in Hermitage to promote awareness for diabetes.
Alysha Brown, director of the C.O.O.L. program, said the focus was on diabetes because there are kids in the Sharon school district who deal with juvenile diabetes, and the disease is one not at the forefront of many people’s minds.
The day started off with a walk, followed by a bike ride and a free, healthy lunch.
Team races and activities were a fun after-lunch event in which volunteers played kick ball and did ring toss and other activities with kids in grades 3-6.
According to the American Diabetes Association, Type 1 diabetes, in which the body does not produce insulin, is usually diagnosed in children and young adults.
Insulin is needed to convert sugars, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.
A healthy diet and exercise plan, along with medication, allows some diabetes patients to live long, healthy and happy lives.
Brown and her staff invited representatives from UPMC Horizon, Farrell; AWARE; WIC; and Lengyl Farms to set up tables to promote healthy eating and living.
“I have an amazing staff,” Brown said.
She said most of her staff are certified teachers, and the majority of them have master’s degrees.
The C.O.O.L. program through Sharon schools is a federally funded program that provides kids with the opportunity to take part in fun activities during the summer.
Aaron Weese, teacher at Sharon Middle School, is one of many teachers who help out with the program.
“The program is focused mostly on sports and recreation,” he said.
The C.O.O.L. kids have physical education, science, math and iPad classes daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at C.M. Musser Elementary School.
Weese said they also take field trips. Last week, they went to the Youngstown State University planetarium. And in two weeks they’ll be going to Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.
Brown said 60 families signed up to attend the event.
All donations will be distributed to several Sharon families with children suffering from diabetes.
To find out more about the C.O.O.L. program, call 724-979-1345.