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The city’s Parks and Recreation Department teamed up Friday with the Brownsville Medical Alliance to throw a children’s health and fitness fair at the Brownsville Sports Park.
The event for children 5 to 17 in the park’s shelter dome served as a distribution point for health and medical fact sheets, books and other information organizers hoped would find their way home to parents.
Officially it was the BMA’s fourth annual Jump-A-Thon and was organized like a trade show. The children received backpacks courtesy of the Brownsville Police Department to fill with books, flyers, fact sheets and lots of other stuff including kits of tiny tubes of sunscreen, all laid out on tables around the dome’s perimeter.
As the kids arrived on school and city buses from places like Gonzalez and Oliveira parks, Rebecca Garcia, president of the Brownsville Medical Alliance, and her team organized the medical literature and children’s books including The Cat in the Hat and others on the tables.
The fair was geared to children, with fact sheets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about things like preventing tick-borne diseases and from the Food and Drug Administration about food safety sleeved in plastic and there for the taking.
One table had jump ropes, which before long were being tried out all around the dome’s vast gymnasium floor. A person from Parks and Rec said no jump-rope instruction had been provided prior to the event, but at one point seemingly everyone was jumping rope.
Carol Rangel, 7, who jumped single style, said she already knew how and demonstrated that fact. Nearby, Athena Martinez, 5, got better and better as two people passed the rope below her feet and over her head. Then, stopping to spell her name for a reporter, she said she was having fun.
Miguel Molano of Boy Scout Troop 6 in Brownsville posted the Texas flag during the opening ceremony. He said in addition to a backpack to collect the giveaways, each child was given a card on which to have confirmed that they received the thing being given away.
Brothers Damian, 7, and Sebastian Gonzalez, 8, walked next to a boy named Hernan Jimenez. All three said they liked the event.
Event sponsors donated things like bikes, fishing poles and other prizes, which were raffled off at the end of the morning.
After that, Parks and Recreation planned to hold a fishing event at a pond stocked with fish for the kids to catch, along with other activities, said Laura Holbrook, who heads the city’s summer recreation programs.
Brownsville City Commissioner Dr. Rose Gowen was among the white-coated BMA doctors who hosted the event. Texas state Sen. Morgan La Mantia, D-South Padre Island, and state Rep. Erin Gamez, D-Brownsville, sent representatives, as did Brownsville Mayor John Cowen.