Dunk for Diabetes event in Halifax promotes healthy living through sports

Dozens of kids tied up their basketball shoes, threw on a pinny and got to practice, training for a healthy lifestyle.

Sunday was the culmination of a six-week program run through the Boys and Girls Clubs, Dunk for Diabetes, that stresses diabetes awareness and prevention and teaches kids to live a healthy lifestyle.

The event uses basketball to get kids engaged.

“Each week, the kids would have an opportunity to log their healthy choices and eating decisions in a work book, and score it and rank how they did,” said Henk van Leeuwen, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Halifax.

Participant Skylar says he really took to the program and now makes sure he eats vegetables, drinks lots of water and gets exercise every day.

“When you’re glued to the TV you are not getting really active, so your body gets weaker,” he said.

“When you’re active, your body gets stronger and you can do things better.”


After six weeks of hard work, the kids had the opportunity to show off their skills and learn some new ones from former Toronto Raptor Jerome Williams.

“Getting kids excited about basketball and sports in general is one way we can get kids healthy,” Williams said. While the day is about having fun, Williams noted that there are some kids with real potential.

“There’s a girl down here, her jumpshot is sweet as butter,” he said.

“I think there’s always some kids in every town that has a future in basketball.”

But even if the kids aren’t destined to be the next NBA or WNBA superstar, Williams says the point is they stay active. This is the second year of the grassroots program, which takes place in 50 Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada locations across the country.

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