13 youths receive their diploma in the second edition of Jump18

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(Oranjestad)—On Friday night, the closing ceremony and graduation of the second edition of the Jump18 project took place. Jump18 is a project with the goal to help and guide children and youths between 4 and 18 years old and their parents to live a healthier life. Through this project, the Jump18 team contributed in reducing the risk of obesity and other diseases in children and youths.

Jump18 consists of a group of young Aruban professionals in the area of medicine, along with pediatrician Dr. Jamiu Busari, who developed this project to help kids and their parents improve their health. The philosophy behind Jump18 is to motivate and allow the children of Aruba and their parents to live a healthier and sustainable lifestyle that will prevent the harmful effects of obesity in children.

“We are very excited, because it went really well. There were of course a few challenges along the way, but it was extraordinary to see how motivated the children were,” Dr. Busari expressed. He explained that the challenges they faced in getting parents to participate in the program varied, but they noticed that all parents had the same motivation to support their children and to motivate them into participating in the project’s activities. “That was very inspiring for us to see,” he stated.

Compared to the first edition of Jump18, this edition had 13 participants. This was less than the first edition, but the results were the same, as Dr. Busari indicated. This means that whatever the Jump18 team is doing to help the children is indeed working.

He further explained that they saw improvement in the participant’s self-esteem. Not one child gained weight in the period of six weeks of the project. More than half lost weight and their physical abilities improved; they were more active.

Dr. Busari also added that they helped some of the parents to have access to a part of the community that would otherwise not be accessible had they not participated in the project.

“I can say that jump18 worked the first time. This time, we are seeing the same results, and we hope to see it work better next time,” he remarked.

Damian Henriquez (11) was one of the participants who completed this edition of Jump18. He shared his experience in the project to our reporter. Damian found out about Jump18 when he got diagnosed as a pre-diabetic and was told to change his habits and lifestyle. “I learned a lot from this program and I believe that this program was a big help to all of us and our families,” he stated.

During the program, the participants received lessons, workshops, guidance and help in different areas, including the topic of self-esteem, physical activity, cooking and more. Damian took his time to express his gratitude to everyone who helped him in the different areas of life during the project: “I wanted to say thank you to the case managers that helped and guided me with this big change, because it isn’t easy to see people eat something I can’t. Also a thank you for their guidance on the topic of bullying, self love and on team work. I feel much more secure with myself,” he expressed.