Category Archives: Health

Cajon Park School holds Health and Fitness Fair

Running cones, tossing a medicine ball, shooting baskets and dribbling a soccer ball are not normally part of the middle school curriculum, but for students at Cajon Park School these were just some of the activities during the first Health and Fitness Fair. The event was just part of a month-long focus on health and fitness at the school connected with the NFL Play 60 Program that kicked off throughout the district in January. That program focuses on encouraging children to commit to at least 60 minutes of activity every day as a way to work toward a healthier lifestyle.

The Health and Fitness Fair was designed and organized by Cajon Park Vice Principal Suzanne Martin, with help from the district’s Wellness Committee. Activities included soccer drills with members of the San Diego Sockers indoor soccer team, a mini obstacle course with trainers from Chuze Fitness, basketball skills with representatives from Santee’s Teen Center and presentations on nutrition by a district nurse and a nutritionist.

“This is something we have designed in collaboration with the NFL Play 60 Program activities, in that we want our students to be active 60 minutes a day,” Vice Principal Martin explained. “We’re encouraging our kids in grades 6 through 8 to be involved, so for the past three weeks they have been monitoring their own activity in journals. We want them to get 60 minutes of activity at recess time, PE time or even at home. Today is actually an entire fair that we have dedicated to health and fitness.”

Joe Spencer, a parent and a member of the Santee School District Wellness Committee, helped to organize the NFL Play 60 Program in the district. “We wanted to have events at each school, so Ms. Martin decided she wanted to have a mini-health fair. I had talked with former Charger Vencie Glenn from the beginning. He’s a motivational speaker who goes out and speaks with kids, and he said he wanted to be part. I also reached out to the San Diego Sockers and John Kentera and he wanted to be a part, so he got Aaron Susi and Eduardo Velez to come out here.”

Each of the three physical activity stations ran approximately 15 minutes and included a short talk about health and nutrition from the presenters. At the soccer station Sockers stars Aaron Susi and Eduardo Velez took each group through a series of basic dribbling skills and footwork. After the students had the chance to try their feet at the activity, Susi talked to them about the importance of making good choices in food. After that the two signed autographs on whatever students had handy, including T-shirts, arms and even one cast.

“It’s always good to give back to the kids,” said Susi between groups. “These are the things that made me look up to soccer players and other athletes when I was younger in school, seeing them come and work with us and teach about being healthy. It’s good that I can do the same for these kids. We talked to them a little about eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle, and we’re teaching them some basic dribbling skills.”

Velez, who tends to let his flashy play on the field speak for him, said, “It’s always great being out with the kids. I love having the opportunity. I love to play around with the kids and have fun with them. We’re talking with them about being healthy and eating healthy food.”

At the basketball station Jeff Eidson and Ryan Bozelle from the Teen Center showed the students basic passing and dribbling skills before letting them try shooting baskets. Between groups the two talked about the role of the Teen Center in the community and what they hoped to bring to the students at the Health and Fitness Fair.

“The Teen Center is located at Lake 5 at Santee Lakes and has been around for eleven years now,” Eidson explained. “It’s an after-school program that caters to sixth through twelfth grade students. We take the kids fishing or out on the paddle boats. They can play pool or just hang out with their friends. It’s a safe place for them and their parents know where they are.”

“About once a week we’re at a different school talking about the Teen Center and what we do,” Eidson continued. “We have a dance called the Friday Night Hot Spot at City Hall once each month, usually on the last Friday. It’s just another thing we do to help keep the kids out of trouble and keep them active and having fun.”

One of the more interesting stations was the Chuze Fitness obstacle course. Students took turns in groups tossing heavy medicine balls, doing shuttle-steps between cones, jumping rope for several minutes, or making their way through hoop runs. A great deal of laughter accompanied the activities, led by trainers Brandon Decker and Kim Assino.

“We’re out her trying to show these kids better ways to work out and to give them different ideas and exercises,” said Decker. “We just want to show them good ways to keep their heart rate going and keep in shape. Different things they can do when they are outside, having fun with a partner or by themselves. The kids seem to be having a lot of fun, and they are getting a pretty good workout at the same time.”

Cajon Park middle school teachers had an easy time of it, shepherding their groups from station to station and then watching the fun. Allsyn Gazi, a math and science teacher, was with her group at the Chuze Fitness station. “This all has to do with heart health awareness and physical fitness,” she explained. “It’s a change from the normal day in and day out PE. With the program they kids are keeping track of their movement each day and they are finding out just how much exercise they actually do in a day. Sometimes it’s more than they realize, other times they see how much more they should be doing.”

John Beacom, a middle school history teacher, pointed out the importance of having the professional athletes and trainers involved. “It means a lot to these kids to see the real professionals who make a living by leading healthy lifestyles, eating right and doing the right things to keep themselves in shape,” he said. “Many of these kids dream about being professionals, either basketball, soccer, football, even cheerleading. These professionals are reinforcing ideas that, hopefully, will help these kids reach their goals.”

For the Cajon Park students who took part in the Health and Fitness Fair, it was all about the fun. Seventh-grade student Janae, who hopes to play softball in high school, enjoyed the soccer station, but admitted, “It was kind of hard. You definitely have to have the right shoes to do it and I didn’t. I don’t usually play soccer, but it was fun. It was cool seeing the two Sockers players; they were really good and definitely professional.”

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said seventh grader Justin. “I had no clue that San Diego had an indoor soccer team. I used to play goalie with AYSO Lakeside’s Gravediggers.”

Asked about how the Play 60 Program has affected him over the past month, Justin confirmed he had seen some definite improvement in the amount of activity he was involved in. Janae agreed that the month-long focus had made a difference, although she admitted, “It’s hard to eat good things every day with all the tempting fast food.”

While the Play 60 Program is a good start, it will be up to the students and their parents and teachers to continue the good habits that have been started. Health is not a one-day or even a one-month activity, but a conscious choice each and every day for a lifetime.

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Senior Health Fair at Santee Trolley Square

The East County Senior Service Providers will present their 12th annual Senior Health Fair at the Santee Trolley Square amphitheater and food court on Friday, May 20, 2011. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and runs until 1:00 p.m. The Health Fair will provide a variety of screenings including stroke, blood pressure, diabetes, and depression. There will also be information on educational programs, community and home care services, housing options, and volunteer opportunities. Over 60 vendors will be on hand to share information about their services. In addition there will be raffle cards for all who attend – get the vendors to sign off on your card and turn it in for drawings for prizes.

The Senior Health Fair is sponsored by the East County Senior Service Providers and by Grossmont Hospital, the Grossmont Healthcare District, and Santee Trolley Square. For information about attending the event, you can contact La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center at 619-667-1322. If you are a vendor interested in setting up an information table, contact Laura Printy from the Alzheimer’s Association at 858-966-3291. Santee Trolley Square is located at the eastern terminus of the San Diego Trolley Green Line, at 9850 Mission Gorge Rd.

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Keep Your Cool

It has finally turned summer in San Diego County as temperatures have been climbing in East County and the rest of the region. When it gets hot the danger of heat exhaustion or heat stroke climbs, especially for the elderly and disabled. So that’s why the County’s Health and Human Services Agency is reminding people to be careful not to get overheated and to keep hydrated when the temperatures climb. They also want everyone to watch out for neighbors who might have problems from the heat.

Often senior citizens and the disabled suffer more from heat because of physical conditions as well as the inability to cool down. Sometimes this is because they are unable to afford the extra expense of air conditioning. This is why the County Health and Human Services Agency and the County’s Aging and Independence Services, in conjunction with SDG&E, coordinate the Cool Zones program every summer and fall. This program will continue through October 31, covering most of the traditionally hot season.

Cool Zones are locations where residents can go to escape the heat during the high temperatures that hit parts of San Diego County in the summer and early fall. Although they are primarily provided to help seniors, these locations are generally open to anyone who needs them. Another benefit of these Cool Zones is that they give residents the option of sharing the air conditioning in a location rather than using their own, which helps to reduce energy use during peak periods.

Following is a list of some East County Cool Zone locations:

  • Alpine Community Library 1830 Alpine Blvd Alpine East CA 91901 M-F 9-4pm, S 10-1pm
  • Alpine County Library 2130 Arnold Ave. Alpine East CA 91901 T,TH 9:30-8pm, W 9:30-6pm, F,S 9:30-5pm
  • Christ the King Episcopal Church 1460 Midway Drive Alpine East CA 91901 Sunday 9-12pm
  • Christian Science Reading Room 8370 La Mesa Blvd La Mesa East CA 91941 M,W,Th,F 9-5, Tue 9-7, Sat 10-4pm
  • La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center 8450 La Mesa Blvd La Mesa East CA 91941 M-F 8-5pm
  • La Mesa Library 8074 Allison Ave La Mesa East CA 91941 M-Th 9:30-8pm, F,S 9:30-5pm, Sun 1-5pm
  • Rancho San Diego Library 11555 Via Rancho San Diego El Cajon East CA 92019 M 9:30-6pm, T, Th 9:30-8pm, W 9:30-6, F, S 9:30-5, Sun1-5
  • East County Regional Center 250 E Main St El Cajon East CA 92020 M-F 7am-5pm
  • El Cajon Library 201 E Douglas El Cajon East CA 92020 M-TH 9:30-8pm, F,S 9:30-5pm, Sun 1-5pm
  • Fletcher Hills Library 576 Garfield Ave El Cajon East CA 92020 T, Th 9:30-6pm, W 12-8pm, F, S 10-5pm
  • Crest Library 105 Juanita Lane El Cajon East CA 92021 T 12-8pm, W,Th 9:30-6pm, F 9:30-5pm, S 9:30-3pm
  • Salvation Army Senior Dining & Social Center 1011 E Main St El Cajon East CA 92021 M-F10:30-2pm
  • Lakeside Community Center 9841 Vine St Lakeside East CA 92040 M-F 12-8pm
  • Lakeside Library 9839 Vine St Lakeside East CA 92040 M, Th 9:30-6pm, T, W 9:30-8pm, F,S 9:30-5pm
  • Santee Library 9225 Carlton Hills Blvd. #17 Santee East CA 92071 M-TH 9:30-8pm, F,S 9:30-5pm, Sun1-5pm

For a complete list of all County Cool Zones click here.

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Free H1N1 Vaccines Available

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency has announced a series of free H1N1 influenza vaccination clinics. The first clinic is Friday, January 8, at Qualcomm Stadium from 2:00-8:00 pm.  Other clinics will be as follows:

Saturday, January 9, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the East Valley Community Center at 2245 East Valle Pkwy in Escondido.

Friday, January 15, 3:00-7:00 pm at the Ronald Reagan Community Center at 195 East Douglas Avenue in El Cajon.

Saturday, January 16, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at two locations: Kimball Senior Center at 121 D Avenue in National City, and Westfield Plaza Camino Real at 2525 El Camino Real in Carlsbad

Although there has not been a lot of coverage lately on the H1N1 virus, the HHSA says that there is a likelihood that there could be another bout this year.

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2009, A Santee Review – Part 2

As I indicated yesterday, I’m using these last few days of the year to look back over 2009. In Part 1 I reviewed January through April, so today we begin with May.

May actually started off with a post on an event from the end of April. On April 30 Simply Spa held a Wellness Expo and Open House to provide an opportunity for people to learn about massage, chiropractics, acupuncture, and nutrition. The evening was quite successful, with a good deal of information being shared. The first few days of the month also included promotional posts for the final “Love and Forgiveness” series discussion at the Santee Library, the Post Office’s annual Stamp Out Hunger Day, and River Days. Later in the month I posted on an E-Waste Recycling event, new restrictions due to the ongoing drought, the Hollywood Tans third anniversary celebration, and the May Chamber Mixer.

The first big event of the month was the grand opening ceremony for Marketplace at Santee – also known as the Henry’s Center. This is the shopping center that was built on the site of the old roller rink on Mission Gorge Rd. The event included music from the West Hills High School Pep Band, the obligatory speeches, and dedication of the Santee Schools Arts Attack Tile Project – a series of decorative tiles created by local students. Each of the students involved in the project was honored and given a certificate and a gift bag.

Not as big, but important in other ways, was the Frubble After-Prom Party. This event was created to provide students with a safe, alcohol-free activity to go to after their prom (after all, who wants to go home right after the prom?). The party included $1 frubble drinks, snacks, and music provided by DJ ANOMIE and the Mayors of Sexy Town.

The real BIG EVENT of the month was the first Santee Street Fair. This was an amazing event on many levels. First of all, the planning for the Street Fair didn’t even start until January. In just a matter of a few months the Chamber of Commerce was able to pull together scores of interested participants, plow through red tape, promote the heck out of the event, and live through it all. The few thousand that the Chamber hoped would attend became tens of thousands, and all this with very few minor problems and no major ones.

June started off with a promotional post for the annual San Diego’s Best 2009 survey/competition from the San Diego Union-Tribune. Two Santee businesses, Domo Sushi and Santee Lakes Campground, were nominated and one, Santee Lakes, won its category. Now, I’m not saying that I had anything to do with their victory, but…

Early in June I posted a more detailed review of the Santee Street Fair, including more photos. Another event I covered was the seventh annual Legoland Teachers Are Heroes award ceremonies, during which teachers from Cajon Park School and Rio Seco School were among the dozen educators honored. During June I also wrote about the new off-leash dog parks, the Greater East County Chambers of Commerce Alliance (GECCA) Networking Trade Show, Frubble’s first Open Mic Night, and the monthly After-5 Mixer. June also saw two fund raising events, the Friendly Grounds Pancake Breakfast for Santee Santas and the 6th Annual Golf Classic to support the Santee Schools Foundation. Oh, yes, and I posted two Food Patrols on Frubble and Domo Sushi.

Above all, June marks the beginning of the annual Santee Summer Concert Series. Every year this musical extravaganza features popular local groups performing in the Trolley Square amphitheater. This year the June concerts featured 80z All Stars, Lindsay Spurlock, and the Cat-illacs.

As busy as May and June were, I’m going to end here and pick up with July in my next post.


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Shop for a Cure at Grossmont Center

 This Saturday, October 24, Grossmont Center and Sharp Grossmont Hospital present Power Shop for a Cure to support the hospital’s Breast Health Navigator Program. The day kicks off at 7:30 am with registration and a free breakfast at Panera Bread. At 9:00 am there is a Pre-Shop Stretch, followed by a 1 mile Wake Up & Walk with TV personality Carol LaBeau. The day continues with special one-day offers at many of the Center shops and eateries. For a $20 donation you get a T-shirt, tote bag, a wristband that gives you all of the specials, and the knowledge that you are helping support breast cancer patients.

Find out more at Grossmont Center Events.

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Hot Weather, Cool Zones

Well, we’re in another little heat wave and the weather folks are predicting temperatures around/over 100 here in Santee for Thursday.  If you or someone you know is stuck without air conditioning in this weather, there is an official Cool Zone located at the Public Library in the Carlton Oaks Center at Carlton Oaks and Carlton Hills Blvds.  If you are not in Santee, there are other Cool Zones around the County.  You can find them on the San Diego County Cool Zones List.

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A “Site” for Sore Eyes – Santee Family Optometry Grand Opening

Santee Family Optometry

There is a new doctor in town and she is suited up and ready to take on those nasty eye problems.  Santee Family Optometry had its Grand Opening celebration last Wednesday, August 5, with representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, City of Santee, and local businesses.  This is a beautiful office, located just a couple doors down from Henry’s in the Marketplace at Santee on Mission Gorge Rd.

Santee Family Optometry - Interior

Dr. Irene Gendelman, O.D., provides a full range of eye care, including comprehensive eye exams, laser and surgical vision correction, and emergency eye care.  She and Optical Care Specialist Wendy Siltmann are especially proud of their work with the InfantSee program to provide eye care specifically to children 12 months and younger.

Grand Opening Guests

Guests on hand for the Grand Opening included Santee Council Member John Minto; Pam White, Assistant to the Executive Director at the City of Santee; Santee Chamber Board Members Warren Savage, John Olsen, John Morley, Ronn and Virginia Hall, and Richard and Hartha Jackson; Ellen Malin, Field Representative for State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth; and local business owners Gabriel Piña of Piña Business Services and Thomas and Caroline Hootman of Simply Spa.  Also on hand was Dr. Smit Patel, an optometrist with an office in El Cajon and, coincidentally, Dr. Gendelman’s husband.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Ribbon Cutting

(L-R) Wendy Siltmann, Ellen Malin, Dr. Smit Patel, Dr. Irene Gendelman, John Minto, Warren Savage, Pam White


Ellen Malin presents Certificate of Recognition to Dr. Gendelman as Dr. Patel watches

Certificate of Recognition

We wish Dr. Gendelman and Santee Family Optometry well.

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Simply Spa Health and Wellness Expo

Simply Spa Wellness Expo

Thursday evening, April 30, was Simply Spa’s first Wellness Expo and Open House.  This was an opportunity for people to stop in, see the facility, and get information about various alternative health care methods (“alternative” in that they are not mainstream medicine).  I was already scheduled to help backstage at the dress rehearsal of CYT’s “Cinderella,” so I was not able to spend a lot of time at the Expo, but I did have a chance to talk to some of the experts, as well as Simply Spa’s owner.

Wellness experts at the Expo included Dr. Kenneth Greenberg, a local chiropracter who has an office up on Lake Murray Blvd., and acupuncuture specialist Jane Mergens, who practices at the same office.  Also there were health and wellness experts Ben and Carol Flick to talk about nutrition, exercise, and more, and Dharlene Fahl-Birttian, a Certified Tea Expert, who shared the stress-releaving power of tea.  All of these experts were available to answer any questions visitors had on their fields.

Thomas Hootman is the owner of Simply Spa, when he isn’t working in radio advertising or one of his other projects.  His goal for Simply Spa is to be a major source of education for the community as well as wellness services.  He hopes to have three spas open in the next few years, and then to expand outside the county through franchises.  As part of his community outreach Simply Spa participated in the Relay for Life of Santee and and Vet Fest, and will be at the May Ride to support Operation Homefront.  You can also find them at the Santee Street Fair on May 30 and at Santee Day at the San Diego County Fair on June 20.

You can get more information at the Simply Spa website.

Welcome to Simply SpaThe Tea LadyIn the Hallway

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More Health News

Catching up on my messages, I realized that we have not one, but two health-related events this week.  In addition to, and coming before, the Compassionate Care Seminar is Simply Spa’s Health and Wellness Expo on Thursday, April 30.  The Expo runs from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm, and brings together experts in acupuncture, chiropractics, and fitness and nutrition.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about how your body works (or maybe doesn’t work), and what you can do to improve it.  I can personally recommend their chiropractics expert, Dr. Kenneth Greenberg, who has been my personal chiropracter for many years now, and I’m sure the others are as qualified as he is.  Best of all, this Expo (and Open House) is FREE.

The Expo will be at Simply Spa, at 278 Town Center Parkway, Suite 101, near the Ross Store.  For more information about the Expo, you can check out the Simply Spa Blog post.

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