Pleasanton Weekly

News - January 7, 2011

Festival set for Saturday for 'Walk to Wellness' program

Group plans monthly events to keep exercising in 2011

by Jeb Bing

A group of volunteers is hoping to change the world, one step at a time by hosting a World Walk to Wellness festival Saturday at the Pleasanton Public Library.

The Pleasanton project is aimed at encouraging people to stay healthy by taking daily walks to boost their New Year's resolutions to get more exercise.

Organization spokeswoman Jerri Long said that more than a dozen organizations will have informational booths at the free festival inside the library's community room from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There, participants can ask questions from experts about dermatology, pedometers, meditation, medical library research, podiatry, massage, medical screening, acupuncture, exercise programs and more. 

Every half hour, groups will depart for easy loop walks on Main Street. "Walk With Me" leaders will include City Councilman Jerry Thorne, school board member Joan Laursen, and W. Ron Sutton, chief executive of Pleasanton-based ACCUSPLIT , a pedometer manufacturer. 

The festival also will offer participants a chance to contribute to Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation in its wellness grants to local public schools. ACCUSPLIT, a corporate sponsor of World Walk to Wellness events, will match each donation, up to $20. So far, World Walk to Wellness has donated $5,000 to the PPIE.  

A special guest at the World Walk to Wellness festival will be Pleasanton school Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi, who will be available the school district's booth, where information on kindergarten registration for next fall and new student immunization requirements will be handed out.

Those who register at the festival can receive e-mail updates on when and where monthly group walks will take place. During the months of February, March, and April, Dolores Bengtson will be leading walks that will include trails along local arroyos.

"Our goal is to encourage more people to commit to an active lifestyle for better health," said Sutton, a founded of the event. "We hope that our monthly events will help our neighbors adopt a routine of taking an easy walk every day, which research has proven to make a significant difference in good health."

"We encourage participants to come with a family member or friend, since the 'buddy system' helps individuals keep their New Year's Resolutions for a whole year," Sutton noted.

His company will give away pedometers to the first 100 people at the festival who choose to donate to PPIE. In addition, tickets will be given for each $1 donated to PPIE with a drawing for gifts.

Upcoming walks are planned for 9 a.m. on the following Saturdays: Feb. 26 (Arroyo de la Laguna and Arroyo Del Valle), March 19 (Arroyo Mocho) and April 9 (Marilyn Kane Trail). Future events will be posted on the group's website, www.WorldWalkToWellness.org.

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