News Update from Trails for Youth

Are your ears ringing?  It could be due to people talking about exciting kid’s projects in our area.  The Springfield Connection and Alexandria Patch newspapers covered a story about Lynbrook Elementary School, and WJLA-TV did a Harris’ Heroes segment about an after school program taking place at Lake Accotink Park.  The common thread of both stories was the SCA supported Springfield based kids health organization TrailsforYouth.Org (TYO).  TYO partnered both with the park and schools to make sure local youth have opportunities to be outdoors and healthy.    The newspaper articles heralded Lynbrook Elementary as being the first public elementary school in Fairfax County to operate the Air Quality Flag System, which alerts students and adults to air quality with a glance at the flag flying on the flag pole in the front of the school every day.   Poor air quality contributes to asthma and respiratory illnesses which causes multiple missed school days each year.

Every day, student patrols at Lynbrook will raise a colored flag of the Air Quality Index (AQI) to show how polluted the air is expected to be.  Green is good air, yellow is fair air, orange is not good for people with breathing issues, red is bad for all people to be active outdoors. Families and teachers will be able to compare the colored flags to the AQI and know what actions to take to protect the children's health. "Lynbrook works continuously to support the well-being of each of our students. This program is an extension of our efforts to provide all the benefits we can for our students," said Assistant Principal Shirley Shannon. "Partnering with TrailsforYouth.Org to provide this program is an additional resource for our students and the community. We are excited to be a pioneer in the County."

The second story, was the TV coverage highlighting the scenery of Lake Accotink Park and TYO’s at-risk youth after school program – The Trailblazers. The partnership between the park and TYO dates back 11 years and has introduced thousands of local youth to the beauty of the park, and the need to protect our natural resources. TYO utilizes the beautiful park setting to teach youth the importance of being active outdoors, overcoming obstacles and while doing this, introduces them to the trails and natural wonders of Lake Accotink Park. The SCA has played an important role in this partnership by sponsoring youth from Lynbrook and Crestwood to attend week-long camps.

It is with tremendous appreciation that we can update the SCA members about the wonderful publicity and programs happening here in Springfield.  For those members who do not know about TYO, it is a local nonprofit 501(c)3 headquartered in Springfield that mentors at-risk youth and provides opportunities for children to experience nature along with the joys and health benefits of being active outdoors. For more information about their programs please visit the website at www.trailsforyouth.org.  And for information about the fantastic news coverage please see these links:

http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2013/may/29/lynbrook-elementary-first-fly-air-quality-flags/

http://kingstowne.patch.com/groups/schools/p/lynbrook-elementary-o-be-first-fairfax-county-public-25135accbe

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/05/trails-for-youth-helps-kids-unwind-and-experience-nature-89399.html