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Cunningham Elementary hosts first Family Fitness Night
Fabian De Leon of In-Shape donates his time and dance moves at Cunninghams Family Fitness Night on Friday evening. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

The common adage “A family that plays together, stays together” rang true at Cunningham Elementary School on Friday evening where families gathered to participate in healthy outdoor activities at the first ever Family Fitness Night.

Sponsored through the Cunningham Elementary Parent Teacher Association, the Family Fitness Night was conceived of by teachers earlier this year as a way to increase parent involvement at the school while also providing students and their families a healthy way to have fun.

“We wanted to provide a fun and free evening for our students and families to get together.  A group of our teachers came up with Family Fitness Night as a great way for our Cunningham families to participate in a variety of activities they may not have tried before, and to learn ways to have fun together while being healthy,” said Nicci Malm, president of the Cunningham Parent Teacher Association

The Family Fitness Night featured a rotation schedule with four stations: basketball drills, sack races, hip hop dance and a one-mile walk or run. The school put the word out to the community and local representatives helped make the event possible, with a dance instructor from InShape gyms leading the hip hop dancing and local sisters from the Phi Mu sorority at California State University, Stanislaus leading the sack race. 

“We’ve held movies nights and things of that sort, but we thought why not do something that is fun for parents and kids while also healthy. A lot of our kids are into playing sports and that was our drive to get the parents and families involved, away from the TV. and into the schools,” said Maria Covarrubias, a fifth grade teacher at Cunningham.

Participant’s names were also entered into a raffle for a basket of healthy snacks and a fitness basket that included a soccer ball, football and other games. Participants enjoyed free healthy snacks including fruit, vegetable packs, juice and water and Jamba Juice was present selling their healthy smoothies, a portion of which went to the school. Costco also donated $25 towards the gift baskets.

“We wanted to show families that these are fun, free games that anyone can play and we hope this helps boost communication between parents and the school too. We want this to become an annual event that is eventually community wide as well,” said Covarrubias.