Children’s Outdoor Physical Activity Non-Profit Wins TD’s Beach to Beacon 10K Grant

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August 03, 2018 - Low-Carbon Environment Our Communities New England

On August 4, Portland, Maine-based WinterKids will receive a grant from the TD Charitable Foundation as the beneficiary of the 2018 TD Beach to Beacon 10K Race in recognition of the life-changing work being done by an organization dedicated to helping children develop healthy habits through education and fun, outdoor winter activity.

Each year a different Maine-based, non-profit, youth organization is chosen as the beneficiary of the Race and as the beneficiary, the organization receives a donation of $30,000 from TD Bank through the TD Charitable Foundation. WinterKids will further benefit from fundraising activities, including the race’s charity bib program, as well as increased awareness through its association with one of Maine’s premiere sporting events. Previous beneficiaries so far have raised an additional $1.6 million or more beyond the TD Charitable Foundation donation.

WinterKids has worked for two decades to address a health epidemic in Maine. Currently, 28 percent of the state's children are overweight or obese by the time they reach kindergarten age. This is the first generation that may not outlive their parents.

WinterKids Executive Director Julie Mulkern outlined the seriousness of the problem. "Kids now have far too many competing priorities when it comes to being active and healthy outdoors.  Screen time has increased significantly, and it is our job to ensure kids and families are getting off the couch and getting outdoors and moving more often. This is increasingly important in the winter, our longest and most sedentary season.” Mulkern adds, “Kids’ default is to be active, to explore and to move around outdoors. It is our job to nurture that and ensure our programs serve the family as a whole.”

"WinterKids emphasizes fun in the outdoors. The younger we reach kids, the more likely they are to develop healthy habits that carry them into adulthood. Maine’s winter heritage has so much to offer kids and families, at home, at school, and in the many rural communities of our state,” she says.

The mark is surely left on the entire family. WinterKids doesn't solely focus on kids—it’s about their parents, too. Mulkern said that kids are naturally inclined to be energetic and adventurous, but if their parents aren't equally engaged, they can hinder their kids’ behavior. Parents need to be onboard with their children being outside when the temperature drops,” Mulkern says.

WinterKids is perhaps best known for their Passport and FunPass programs—initiatives that allow families to enjoy discounted admission prices at venues offering outdoor winter activities—and for discounts on winter clothing and equipment at certain retailers. Their work also impacts children and families through partnerships with school districts through the WinterKids Challenge and WinterKids Winter Games. These programs focus on outdoor physical activity, nutritional education and parental engagement, providing comprehensive support for the whole family.

Currently, WinterKids offers programs in Maine and New Hampshire; however, there are plans to expand the program to other winter states.

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Learn more about TD’s Beach to Beacon 10K here

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