Get set for Fit-Fest to support Project Renewal!

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Cameron Moore plays Connect Four will other participants at Project Renewal’s “Treat House” in Davenport.

By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Project Renewal invites you to participate in Fit-Fest, a fitness festival on April 20 that benefits the nonprofit’s mission to be “a positive presence for children and families in our fragile neighborhood” in central Davenport.  Children like Cameron Moore, 10-1/2, and Masion Powell, 9-1/2. They love the positive reinforcement, academic challenges, games and physical activities they participate in after school and during the summer at Project Renewal, which has its roots in the Diocese of Davenport’s Social Action Office.

Fit-Fest, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Sr. Concetta Park (6th and Warren streets) features 10 challenges/obstacles to perform with a partner. Each obstacle involves a physical activity or sports drill with options for people of all abilities and ages to participate. The registration fee is $20 but free admission for children 12 and under. Call Project Renewal at 563-324-0800 or visit the website (www.projectrenewal.net) to register.

Fit-Fest is a fun, family-friendly event with positive opportunities and experiences promoting healthy lifestyle choices, spreading awareness about Project Renewal and the surrounding neighborhood and raising funds to support Project Renewal’s youth programs, longtime director Ann Schwickerath said. Volunteers, sponsors, observers and cheerleaders are needed.

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Cameron and Masion have been coming to Project Renewal’s popular “Treat House” since kindergarten. Cameron is a fifth-grader at Harrison Elementary and Masion is a fourth-grader at Jefferson Elementary, both in Davenport. “You do your homework and listen and be kind and then you go on fun trips and the Treat House teaches you to use your manners,” says Cameron. “They want the best for you. They are kind and they always want you to succeed.”

During the summer, “We go on a lot of field trips and we get taught a lot of things,” Cameron said. “We go to Nahant Marsh (in Davenport) and go swimming and it’s very fun. I love the food in the morning. They call me the watermelon bandit (one of his favorite fruits).” He especially enjoyed participating in a field trip in February to St. Ambrose University’s “Bee Curious Day.”

“You’ve got to do your (home) work. Sometimes kids don’t have homework from school but we still have something to practice, such as a worksheet or read a book,” Masion says. Then there’s free time — to play video games, go outside, do yoga, he adds. “I like the summer program because in the morning you can get food and you get lunch and other stuff and like what Cameron was saying, we love the fruits. And I love how educational the field trips are.” Both boys love swimming, a skill they learned with Project Renewal’s encouragement. 

“We sign up the kids for swimming lessons every year,” Schwickerath said. “It’s a life skill and it’s also a lot of fun.” Youth also visit attractions throughout the Quad-City area —from museums to parks to Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat near Wheatland.

They will be able to participate in more STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) activities after completion of the new Project Renewal building. Construction starts this spring. “In our new building we’ll have space dedicated to having more of those things happening,” Schwickerath said.

Year-round, Project Renewal provides opportunities for children to socialize, build friendships, exercise, receive academic support and experience personal growth while having fun and exploring their own interests and the community. “This increases their capacity for learning, teamwork, problem solving, self-awareness, etc.,” says Schwickerath. “None of this would be possible without community support.”

Isis Posey, 18, a college-bound senior at Central High School in Davenport who has participated in Project Renewal since kindergarten, appreciates the high school dinners and field trips for high school students.

“They help you with your career,” says Posey, who is in the Army Reserves and hopes to enter active duty after graduating from college. “They try to get people (in a particular field) to talk to you about that field so that you know more about it.”

Project Renewal teaches participants to work hard and to learn life skills, such as saving money, she said. “Everyone there is just nice. Ann, I have known her forever. She has become like family to us.”


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