With schools closed for the rest of the academic year and children being cooped up at home, many little ones may not be as active as they typically are. That led to the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center (BHCCRC) launching a new social media campaign inspired by a local student that encourages East Enders to get those endorphins flowing.
“A super smart local teenager approached me about getting involved – in fact, she even wanted to tutor at the Center last summer, but was too young,” Gia de Picciotto, Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center Chairperson, noted. “That said, given the distancing getting involved in person is impossible.”
However, that didn’t stop the inspiring teen and Center from coming up with a way to give back. “The desire to volunteer, combined with her parent’s desire to get her outside and exercising safely led us to High 5,” de Picciotto noted.
High 5 is super easy for all ages to participate in – all you have to do is High 5 (either virtually or with someone in your household), Run 5, Donate 5, and Tag 5. “Based on a model I had seen in the UK to support the United Kingdom National Health Service, called 5 for Heroes, we have kick started a social media campaign,” de Picciotto explained. “The girl mentioned above began by running 5k, donating 5 dollars to the Center and then tagging 5 friends to do the same.”
“It’s a way we can get kids involved, families involved. It touts on physical education and improving your health within the pandemic. People are not moving around as much because they’re quarantined. This will help to instill that, and it’s something that anybody – the whole family – can get involved in,” Bonnie Michelle Cannon, BHCCRC Executive Director, added. “That’s what the Center is about – we’re about family and the community. And it does raise some funds for the Center so it’s a win-win. It’s one of those good feeling things you can do and the entire community can get around it. I’m just so excited about us doing something like this. It’ll bring some sunshine, some light to what can be a dim situation.”
5 for Heroes has seen widespread support across the UK, and BHCCRC hopes High 5 finds similar success in the Hamptons. “My hope is that this goes viral and people will be tagged multiple times,” de Picciotto expressed.
Whether you run the 5k, walk it, or just take a leisurely stroll, for Cannon and the Center, it’s just about enjoying the journey and remembering why you’re joining the cause. “I’m planning on participating in this. It’s a motivator for people who don’t always exercise,” Cannon said. “This is not just for runners. Walkers are welcome.”
Cannon continued, “We wanted to come up with something outside all of the virtual stuff the kids are doing where they could still do social distancing and still have fun, and give towards a good cause.”
Since the Center has been operating in crisis mode since Monday, March 16, securing funding has become even more important. More than half of BHCCRC families have lost income due to the Coronavirus, which has led to the Center ramping up its food pantry assistance, increasing its operation from aiding families once a month to now supplying food to families twice a week.
While the pandemic has caused BHCCRC to temporarily close its physical location, The Center has remained committed to students by offering online programming that includes homework help, learning games, and other programs – with an emphasis on math and reading. The Center’s Scrabble and Chess Clubs have also resumed virtually.
This new campaign provides another outlet for BHCCRCers and the entire community to focus on. “In my new role for the Center, I am very focused on diversifying our funding constituencies and reaching new audiences,” de Picciotto concluded. “This ticks both boxes and we are super excited.”
So, the next time you lace up your sneakers, take part in the High 5 campaign – and make sure to include #High5fortheCenter in your post and tag Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center on Facebook @bhccrc, Twitter @BHCCRCenter, or Instagram @the_bridgehampton_center, as well as tag five friends to take the challenge. To donate, visit www.bhccrc.org/donate.
The Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center was established “out of tragedy in 1949 when a migrant camp fire killed two children of seasonal farm workers.” The not-for-profit serves the East End community, with a focus on the lower income African-American and growing Latino community. Its mission is to “deliver the highest quality educational and recreational programs to local children, youth and their families.”
For more information about The Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center, visit www.bhccrc.org.