HARLINGEN — “One, two, three, four, five! There you go girls!” said Sergio Hernandez as two girls completed a round of vigorous jumping jacks.
The girls, Sofia and Jessica Mullowney, had joined more than 1,000 other children for the annual KidFit sponsored by the Junior League of Harlingen.
Parents and children filled the hallways and gymnasium at Harlingen High School South to participate in the days’ events.
Cameron County Children’s Advocacy Centers Inc. gave away apples. The Junior League’s “Kids in the Kitchen” did a coloring activity with the kids and gave out parfaits with blueberries, chocolate chips, strawberries and bananas.
Cameron County Court-at-Law No. 4 Judge Sheila Garcia Bence gave out juices and granola bars.
“We’re having a great turnout,” Bence said. “A lot of kids, it’s great to see them exercising. They get to see more people.”
Each child had a card with a list of exercises to complete such as squat jumps, arm punches and run in place. Each time a child stopped at a particular station and did a required exercise, he or she received a blue sticker. Once the card was filled, they could go to the fun zone to play Jenga, bowling or other events, or enjoy a romp in an inflated bouncer.
Myah Medina, 10, stopped at the table of Ramos Boyd Dentistry where she received credit for doing jumping jacks. The young lady had been at several stations at the event.
“I like it,” she said. “It’s really fun. They teach us new things and different kinds of stuff and it’s really exciting.”
Her mother, Jessica, had done the exercises with her.
“We are helping promote a healthy lifestyle,” she said as her husband Miguel showed up.
“We are here because we have to show them by doing the pushups, the jumping jacks and scissor steps.”
All three of them are active members of Premier Martial Arts, and she pointed out the importance of families staying active together. It serves not only to keep everyone fit but to build family bonding, she said.
Premier Martial Arts had quite an active presence. Not only were its members attending KidFit with their children, others like Sergio Hernandez, 14, helped operate a station.
“It’s awesome,” he said after finishing with Sofia and Jessica.
“The kids are really enjoying doing exercises,” he said.
Some appreciated the chance not only to exercise more but also just hang out with other kids.
“It gives us a better chance to socialize so when we get out of high school we won’t be as shy,” said Zoe Lopez, 17.
“It’s wonderful,” Christina Araguz, president of the Junior League of Harlingen, said with a big smile. “We have over 50 vendors.”
Those vendors included Southern Careers Institute and St. Alban’s Episcopal Church.
The Junior League had planned to hold the event at Lon C. Hill Park moved it indoors at Harlingen High School South because of the rain and cold.
“We want to think HCISD for accommodating us and assisting us in our plan B,” Araguz said.
The Junior League had intended to hold a one-mile run for which about 700 kids had registered. That run was canceled because of the weather. The kids, however, pledged to complete the run sometime this week in order to enter a raffle.