NEA Launches Life Changing Program

April 19, 2006--Posted at 11:30 pm

JONESBORO-- A facility in Jonesboro is giving parents and children a chance to change their lives.
     The Center for Healthy Children is giving families the chance they need to help children learn the importance of diet and exercise.
     And one Jonesboro family has felt that impact not only physically, but emotionally too.

With the fancy footwork and sheer ambition... It's hard to imagine the struggle in Daniel Gibson's life... It's one that started with his mom.

"I'm overweight and I hate to see my son that way. It's hard for me to teach what I don't know," Daniel's mom Darby Gibson says.

But with the national child obesity epidemic, the NEA Charitable Foundation came up with a solution for kids like Daniel... A Center for Healthy Children. It's a place that's helping Daniel shed more than just pounds. It's also working on his heart.

"Some people made fun of me because I'm big," Daniel says.
"He would come home wanting to move. He'd want to move to another school or come home crying. It was bad," Daniel's mom says.

With child sized machines and trainers to encourage kids, the center is changing lives. The center also offers classes for healthy eating and nutrition. Daniel has even learned to read labels and count calories.

"I haven't had any junk food or anything. I've been eating food and yogurt," Daniel says.

These lifestyle changes are changing the way Daniel feels about himself. He's certainly not afraid of the scales anymore... He's lost 12 pounds.

"He weighs a lot. He likes to go in there and be weighed every week. And when he weighed today and it was 12 pounds, it was just... I'm so proud of him," Daniel's mom says.

And when Daniel comes home from school, his day isn't quite as heartbreaking as it used to be. He's learned a new approach to dealing with his size.

"Don't listen to them... Not everybody's perfect, and to watch him cry... He was always so upset. He's better," his mom says.

Daniel Gibson is doing more than just dealing with his weight... He's changing it.

"It's just changed because people will ask me have you lost weight. At school they don't make fun of me anymore," Daniel says.

The NEA Center for Healthy Children is located inside the Wellness Center of Jonesboro. The program is free and only requires an application and an interview to begin the program.