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CATCHing the Spirit of Let’s Move Faith and Communities

How do you teach a child using a holistic approach to good nutrition and exercise? One Jewish Community Center in Akron, Ohio, piloted the Coordinated Approach to Children’s Health or CATCH, early childhood wellness program, to do just that. The CATCH program teaches school-age children about healthy eating and exercise, and does it in a way that is fun.    

Jewish Community Centers Association (JCCA) is a leadership organization of over 350 Jewish Community Centers (JCCs), Jewish Ys, and camps across the United States and Canada.

JCCA has supported Let’s Move Faith and Communities since November of 2010 by starting a JCC Grows initiative to encourage fresh food projects like gardens and farmers markets at JCCs. JCCA is now turning its attention to early childhood development and piloting CATCH programs in six different states. 

Jewish Community Center Uses CATCH for Their Early Childhood Curriculum

Children at the Akron, OH, Jewish Community Center practice their yoga moves as part of the CATCH Program.

The Shaw Jewish Community Center in Akron, Ohio, is one such site. Since Shaw JCC already has an Ethical Start early childhood program, CATCH was a natural complement to build on this curriculum. In its 83rd year serving the Akron community, the JCC creates community by providing quality program and services to people of all ages. It is open to all members of the community.

Lisa Pesantez teaches a group of two year olds and a class of third, fourth and fifth graders at the Jewish Community Center in Akron, Ohio. “For my [two year olds] I think the biggest thing has been showing them that exercising can be fun!” says Pesantez.  But CATCH is more holistic than just exercise, “I believe that the purpose is to give wholeness and completeness to physical activity, spirituality, and nutrition for both the students and the teachers,” she said.

Are you part of a community organization or congregation you’d like to see moving? Visit the Community Leaders section of the Let’s Move! website to learn more about how you can sign up and take action!