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Harvest Youth Board helps bring Speediatrics festival to Martinsville Speedway

LEFT TO RIGHT: Nichole Krieger, executive director of the NASCAR Foundation, Jacob Tisdale, treasurer of the youth board and youth board members, Andrew Chitwood and Jarrett Pearson

RIDGEWAY – The Harvest Youth Board helped bring the Speediatrics Fun Day Festival to the Martinsville Speedway for the first time with a $5,000 grant.

Joanie Petty, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Blue Ridge, said NASCAR is one of Martinsville-Henry County’s largest economic drivers and part of the culture throughout the community.

“It’s impressive that the youth board is investing in things like this that are supporting other youth and younger youth – exposing them to things like motorsports and racing that could become future careers for them,” she said. “I think it’s really cool that they (Harvest Youth Board) see this as an investment. It probably fits close to their hearts because it’s so close to home.”

Anne Harris, a member of the Harvest Youth Board, said she’s excited the board approved this grant because of the impact it will have on the children that got to experience the Motorsport Charities Speediatrics event.

“The Speediatrics program is such a great program to show kids how to be active and healthy but still have fun while taking care of themselves,” Harris said. “We had the perfect opportunity with the Martinsville Speedway being such a big part of our community to be able to host this wonderful event

right here in our area. I’m so happy that the Harvest Board got to not only approve but engage with the event also.”

Harvest Youth Board Treasurer Jacob Tisdale added that the grant “aligns with our mission and our goal of promoting health and wellness for the youth in our area. We are proud to see the Martinsville Speedway engaging kids and promoting the culture of a race town as well as positive messages about living active lifestyles. We are excited to see the results and fun times that the kids gain from the experience.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Blue Ridge and the NASCAR Foundation have partnered together over the past year.

Petty said it’s a great partnership that has further solidified the strong relationship with Martinsville Speedway.

“We have a saying that NASCAR is family,” said Nichole Krieger, executive director of the NASCAR Foundation. “What’s better than kids helping kids? I’m so excited members of the youth board got to experience Speediatrics and what it means for the children who participate.”

The NASCAR Foundation had six Speediatrics events this year and Martinsville was chosen as one of the locations, Krieger said.

When an event comes to a town, she said they are in and out but try to leave something behind.

“We want to have a lasting impact on the children who attend our Speediatrics events,” Krieger said. “The youth board is part of bringing Fit Kits to the participants, and some of the kids are already wearing their pedometers. They’ve started tracking their steps and we’ll continue to get reports back on how well they’re doing.”

Petty said more than 100 children have participated in the program, which will be a great kickoff to the Boys & Girls Clubs’ fitness challenge throughout the month of November.

The goal of the NASCAR Foundation’s Speediatrics Fun Day Festival is to inspire children in racing communities to lead a healthy lifestyle.

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