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BIG games at CSUB
  April 3, 2006
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456,,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138,

California State University, Bakersfield will host the first Bakersfield Intergenerational Games, or BIG, Friday (April 7) from 8:30 a.m. to noon on the CSUB campus. BIG enables about 130 Freemont Elementary School pupils to engage with CSUB students from the physical education and kinesiology and nursing departments, women's and men's soccer, track, and basketball teams, as well as community seniors in a series of stations promoting good habits in health and physical fitness.

The third grade students will travel with their individual classes through six stations learning about various topics including heart health, reading, and exercise and stretching. These topics are designed to meet California Department of Education's required K-12 standards.

"We're real happy they're going to have an opportunity at their age to see what higher education is all about," said Jesse Beed, Freemont Elementary School principal. "It's going to play an important part in their thought process on what college is and how they can actually get there." Beed said exercise is an important part of a child's educational diet. "Kids need to participate in physical activity," he said. "A true education needs to be well-rounded academically and physically."

The event was created by the small project group from the 2006 Leadership Bakersfield Class. Keith Powell, CSUB director of Educational Support Services, Educational Opportunity Program, and the Academic Advancement Center; Sharon Brockman, CSUB associate dean of the School of Education; and various community members including Adam Alvidrez, Don Byrnum, Rose Charmley, Bill Jeffries, Tom White and Gloria Williams are part of the team.

"It brings the students to the university and shows them that this is a place for them," Brockman said. "Keith Powell, along with the help of Jacqueline Mimms (CSUB associate vice president for enrollment management), wants to continue to have programs that bring elementary school students to the CSUB campus."

Brockman said this event is so important because of the state of children's health today. The California Department of Education reports "32 percent of youths are overweight and close to 74 percent are unfit. The Surgeon General states that children who have an unhealthy diet and low levels of physical activity are at greater risk of developing chronic health problems, including type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and heart disease."

A number of community sponsors, including Jim Burke Ford, are helping fund the project. Albertsons is providing a nutritious lunch for the students and as follow-up each teacher will receive a teacher kit from the Dairy Council of California. The kits contain CD-ROMs, student books and materials. Each student will also receive a BIG T-shirt.

The Leadership Bakersfield Class is a yearlong course sponsored by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce. Its focus is on understanding community groups including government, education, and community outreach programs. Members are responsible for working in small groups and creating a community project in their field of knowledge.

For more information, please call Powell at (661) 654-2276, or Brockman at (661) 654-6663.