Big Red lends a hand

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As the clock struck 10 a.m. on Saturday, two little boys burst through the doors of the Licking County Family YMCA screaming, “I want to do the bouncy thing!” They jumped up and down in the lobby and quickly dragged their mother into to the gymnasium.
Once inside, the boys scampered from one interactive, educational booth to the next, stopping only for a healthy snack and a quick pose with Denison’s very own Buzzard. The final destination was, of course, “the bouncy thing.”

It’d be to safe to say the boys enjoyed their morning at the second annual Health and Fitness Fest, part of Denison’s 2012 celebration of Big Red’s Big Day.

Each year, in observance of Big Red’s Big Day, students and faculty reach out to the Granville and Newark communities through a variety of service projects. This year, student volunteers took part in three events: the Health and Fitness Fest, a Community Blitz of the South and East sides of Newark, and preparatory gardening work at Newark’s 6th Street “Garden of Hope.”

A variety of student organizations and performance groups took part in the Health and Fitness Fest by hosting an info booth and running activities for kids. Luchen Peng ’15, a member of the Volunteer Medley organization, worked at her group’s face-painting table—drawing happy little suns and flowers and honoring the occasional request for a pirate face complete with eye patch—all in the belief that if you want to be healthy, start by being happy.

Student volunteers who worked the Community Blitz event partook in a door-to-door voter registration campaign, as well as a neighborhood cleanup project. A similar project was held earlier in the semester as part of the college’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy.

The 6th Street Garden of Hope aims to provide the Newark community with healthy food, in addition to serving as a restorative-justice program for area youths. For Big Red’s Big Day 2012, students worked to ready the space for the upcoming growing season.

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