2nd Annual Halloween Candy Buy-Back Event

October 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Halloween Candy Buy-Back Event

It’s back!

The 2nd annual Halloween Candy Buy-Back event hosted by Sartell Pediatrics and Pediatric Dentistry is set for Friday, November 1, 2013 from 5-7p.m.!  BLEND is a very happy partner for obvious reasons - to reduce the amount of candy children and families may consume…and, because we love to see our partners make such a meaningful contribution to the health and wellness of our community. 

In case you missed out last year – several blogs were published and a fun video was created to highlight how great this event turned out!

Candy Buy-Back – A Sweet Success!

Guest Post – Prizes for Halloween Candy - by Dr. David Smith

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NEW this year!

BLEND will be giving away cool lunch sacks to the first 600 children attending the event.  Get there early to snag up one of these – but not too early…the events starts at 5:00p.m. with no early drop-offs. 

Also, to help keep lines from getting too congested, organizers have created an advanced copy of the door prize registration form - simply print and fill out before the event.  ONE entry per child, please!!   

BLEND Lunch Sacks

 For more details, please go to the BLEND Facebook page.   View event flyer!

[Guest Post] I Feel Like A Proud Father

July 22, 2013 by · 8 Comments 


This is a guest post by Dave Tilstra, M.D.

Pediatrician Dave Tilstra, MD, provides leadership and strategic direction as the president of CentraCare Clinic. Dr. Tilstra also is on the BLEND Board of Directors and was instrumental in creating and launching BLEND.



BLEND arrives…

I was there at the “birth” of BLEND on July 25, 2006. Like any expectant father, I had big dreams for my little one. BLEND was going to change the world and reduce the epidemic of childhood obesity.

Those early days were rough. We walked the floors at night working out the details of how we were going to get medical professionals, policy makers, educators, health care advocates, and parents committed to improving the health of children in the St. Cloud area.

But we had a good support network: CentraCare Health Foundation; David L. Smith, M.D., Sartell Pediatrics; Bob Thueringer, Chief Operating Officer for Coborn’s Inc.

In the beginning…

Soon, our “baby” BLEND started to sit up. We reached out to child care providers, who are in a unique position to support healthful eating and promote physical activity among young children. “BLEND Beginnings,” a nutrition and physical activity program, was created to assist child care providers to build environments for young children that support the increased consumption of healthy foods and promotes more opportunities to engage in physical activity.Dr. Smith 5-2-1-0

Entering the crawling stage, BLEND engaged health care professionals in the prevention, assessment and treatment of overweight and obese children by promoting the 5-2-1-0 Wellness Program. 5-2-1-0 is designed to encourage smart eating and physical activity for children and families. The concept focuses on making changes in nutrition and physical activity that can be both healthy and enjoyable.

BLEND’s Medical Committee, comprised of physicians from CentraCare Clinic, Sartell Pediatrics, St. Cloud Medical Group, Health Partners Central Minnesota Clinics and Williams Integracare Clinic, have developed tools for health care providers to use in their office to address the issues of childhood obesity, which includes materials for both patients and providers.

Growing up…

Walking came next. BLEND made it a priority to engage community members, decision makers, and schools in discussions to create environments and policies that sustainably support active living. By supporting programs like Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School, the BLEND coalition works to increase opportunities for kids to be physically active, both in- and out- of school, and to create new opportunities for families to move together. 

BLEND Walk-A-Thons, just like Safe Routes to School and Complete Streets, encourages kids to be active in- and around- schools – and, during the school day. BLEND works with area schools to promote and adopt healthy fundraisers like walk-a-thons and 5K/1K events.  By choosing these active fundraisers – rather than the sale of unhealthy food products – schools are making a positive contribution to children’s health and spreading excitement about being active.

South JH Walk-A-Thon

Early on, BLEND walked hand-in-hand with schools to learn and grow – developing a walk-a-thon “how-to” guidebook along the way. Now, with 19 local elementary, middle and high schools implementing healthy “active” fundraising events, it’s no surprise schools are finding tremendous success in this low-cost, all-inclusive fundraising opportunity.

Like all children, walking quickly turned into running. BLEND launched the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System in eight St. Cloud area stores in October 2010 in partnership with Coborn’s Inc. and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. Under the NuVal® System, foods are graded on a scale from 1 to 100. The higher the number, the more nutritious the food is overall.  Now, the NuVal® System is available in Sartell – St. Stephen Schools and Coborn’s, Hy-Vee, Lunds and Byerly’s throughout Minnesota.

BLEND launching NuVal in Sartell Schools

Learning to ride a bike (with a helmet, of course) was memorable. The BLEND Bike Parade is now called Kick It In Gear Bike Event and is part of the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series organized by the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA. The YMCA, in an effort to improve the health and wellness of our community, is promoting this family friendly series to provide fun, education, and activities all year round. Following the Y’s mission of inclusiveness, every family will have equal opportunity to participate in the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series. 

BLEND Bike Parade

The training wheels came off and the Fit Kids Club was formed.The BLEND Fit Kids Club Series provides opportunities and incentives for youth 14 and younger to remain active throughout the summer. By encouraging participation in endorsed race events, like Earth Day Run, BLEND’s goal is to give children and families the opportunity to try something new, pass on the idea that exercise is fun, provide a sociable setting, and reward children for positive behavior. In return, by promoting daily exercise in childhood, the tone is set for a lifetime of physical activity and improved health.

Fit Kids Club

I am very proud…

The saying that it takes a village to raise a child is appropriate when it comes to BLEND. It took community support to help BLEND grow to be successful.

Looking back at the milestones in the life of BLEND, I can’t believe how quickly time passes. My little baby is going to be seven. I couldn’t be more proud.

Dr. Dave Tilstra
President of CentraCare Clinic

Happy Birthday BLEND!

BLEND Birthday Celebration – Contest #4

To enter, you will need to read the blog and make a comment.  Tell us your BLEND story –  your favorite BLEND moment – or,  how BLEND has made a positive impact on you, your family, your school, or your community.  We look forward to reading your comments!

If you missed any of the other contests – you still have time to enter them. Learn more about our weeklong celebration and contests, here

[Guest Post] Summertime with Family!

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Jennifer Rapatz-HarrThis is a guest post from Jennifer Rapatz-Harr, physician assistant in pediatrics. Jennifer and Dr. David Smith have worked together for 7 years. Jennifer joined Dr. Smith’s Sartell Pediatrics Clinic in February 2013 prior to that Jennifer worked at St. Cloud Medical Group for 23 years. Jen loves outdoor activities, gardening, landscaping, jogging, singing and playing piano. Jen and her husband, Steve, have 5 grown children.


Cloud Watching

Tag…You’re It!

Remembering my summertime childhood spent almost totally outdoors from 7a.m. – 8p.m. is peppered with many happy memories. Those “free play” times: exploring in the backyard, laying on my back looking at cloud designs across the sky,  building forts, playing softball, doing night games are just a few of the things I did with my family.

We loved the summertime because we had “no worries” and we had extra time with our folks who were more laid back, too.

Capture the Flag!

Sartell Pediatrics wants parents to know that the summertime family memories are important to the health of a child. Knowing that parents love spending time with their child is a building block to self worth and self esteem. Our friends at BLEND are committed to providing great summertime activities for family fun. One in particular - the 2013 BLEND Fit Kids Club Series.  In their 4th year, BLEND has rounded-up, and endorsed, some of the best race events Central MN has to offer.  From April through October this series will allow the entire family to enjoy each others company while participating in community race events with other families. You’ll be sharing family values that helps build community and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Kids Running

Taking part in the BLEND Fit Kids Club Series not only provides health benefits and opportunities for our kids to be active, the series has some added perks as well. BLEND is rewarding kids (14 and younger) who participate in 3 Fit Kids Club Series events. The more events the better the incentive!  Kids can also win more prizes by participating in 5 or more events!  View and print the flyer!!


As part of our ongoing commitment to health and fitness,  Sartell Pediatrics is on a mission to get kids active this summer and enjoy the great outdoors. So, we’ve come up with a plan. We’re giving away 3 BLEND Fit Kid Club Series passes, good for 5 race entries of your child’s choosing!  Find the dates that work for your family and we’ll pick up the tab. Choose from the Sartell Apple Duathlon (May 24), the YMCA’s Family Track and Field Days (August 10) or ANY five of the remaining 17 endorsed events!

In the Summertime

To enter, simply go to the Sartell Pediatrics Facebook page, look for the photo above and “SHARE” the post by midnight on May 12th!  You must “LIKE” (or have previously liked) our page, too!  We will choose 3 winners at random on May 13th.

Join us for fun in the sun!

Candy Buy-Back Event – a Sweet Success!

November 5, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

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Dr. Smith, Dr. Lucas, Dr. Welch and BLEND hosting 
a Candy Buy-Back Event……………………………………………Great Idea!
Fun giveaways, cash and prizes in exchange for 
Halloween candy……………………………………………………..Exciting!
Promoting healthy habits to 452 children who donated 
their Halloween candy………………………………………………Amazing!
Sending 1,186 pounds of Halloween candy to our 
troops overseas……………………………………………………..PRICELESS!!!!!!!
That’s right – 1,186 pounds of Halloween candy was donated by 452 kids at the Halloween Candy Buy-Back Event held on Thursday, November 1st, at Sartell Pediatrics.  Sartell Pediatrics and Pediatrics Dentistry P.C., in partnership with BLEND, planned this event to reduce the amount of sugar children consume during a holiday surrounded by candy…and, to offer our soldiers a “sweet” reminder of home during this time of year.
 Halloween Candy Buy-Back Event
Children love to celebrate Halloween. In fact, 93% of children in the U.S. take part in the trick-or-treating ritual every year (41 million children between the ages of 5-14). The good news 9 out of 10 children said they would still like Halloween if it was less about candy and more about other types of fun. Swapping trick-or-treat goodies for giveaways, cash and chances to win great prizes – now that is FUN!! 

A Winning Event!

Thank you parents for supporting this event and caring for your child’s health. This event surpassed all expectations, but the excitement will last a lot longer for the grand prize winners (below) and for the troops overseas receiving the care packages. 
2012 Halloween Candy Buy-Back Event Winners!
iPad – Devan S.
XBox – Grant P.
Bike – George D.
BLEND Prize Pack – Krista H.
$25 Coborn’s Gift Card –  Marilyn H. (for the closest guess on Facebook)

It Matters Piece by Piece…

From a health perspective, there is a sense of relief when weighing and boxing away 1,186 pounds of candy. Children should not consume large amounts of candy (sugar) and risk compromising their physical well-being and dental health. BLEND, Sartell Pediatrics, and Pediatrics Dentistry P.C. couldn’t be more pleased by the remarkable turnout and the positive message parents passed on to their children. By supporting events like the candy buy-back event it helps shift kids’ focus away from candy to something more positive and responsible. It’s not going to hurt if kids eat a little bit of Halloween candy, however, it becomes a big concern when a night of trick-or-treating turns into a week-long candy extravaganza.

Take a look at the guide below…these are the most popular candy handed out for Halloween. As you can see the grams of sugar varies based on the candy. Calculating the weight of sugar in the candy collected would’ve been a painstaking task. Just for fun, though, we estimated how many pieces of candy was collected based on a website science project called How Much Halloween Candy Can You Get in a Pillowcase?.  By doing a little bit of math – approximately 35 pieces of candy in a pound – the event gathered more than 41,500 pieces of candy. WOW – that’s unbelievable!!!

Sugar in Halloween Candy

Again, thanks to Sartell Pediatrics and Pediatrics Dentistry P.C. for being a great partner…and to everyone for supporting healthy kids and healthy communities!   We all look forward to the next candy buy-back event!!

Dr. Lucas, Dr. Welch and Dr. Smith

[Guest Post] Prizes for Halloween Candy

October 25, 2012 by · 4 Comments 

This is a guest post by Dr. Dave Smith, MD - pediatrician and founder of the new Sartell Pediatrics Clinic in Sartell, MN.  Dr. Smith is a member of the BLEND Steering Board Committee and loves to work with children because of the potential they possess and the ability to instill healthy habits early in life.


Halloween Candy

What do you call a cow that can’t moo? A Milk Dud!  How about this one… what candy do you eat on the playground? Recess Pieces! 

We all love a good joke now and again.  But it’s no joke Halloween is the scariest holiday of the year, not because of the ghosts and goblins but because of all the candy purchased and consumed by Americans, especially kids. In the U.S., more than 600 million pounds of candy is purchased for HalloweenExperts are estimating that for this Halloween season more than $2 billion will be spent on candy alone.  That’s an average of $14.83 spent on Halloween candy for every U.S. consumer. This is down-right scary!

As Halloween approaches, parents and medical professionals worry kids might gobble up too much candy and indulge their way to upset tummies, cavities, and obesity. But having a little little candy won’t lead to painful consequences or bulging waistlines.  

Halloween is…

Halloween is…a social holiday and kids want to be a part of their peer group by enjoying the perks of this spookishly fun day.  And, yes, that includes eating some candy…but, in moderation!  Parents should take charge during Halloween and help their kids make responsible decisions. Just because Halloween happens only once a year it’s not recommended kids hoard the candy and eat until the supply is depleted.  When kids come back from their grand trick-or-treating rounds, parents should help go through their sacks of candy and portion it out – saving some for the week, freezing a bit for later, and giving the rest away. 

Halloween Ghosts

Halloween is…also a good time to reinforce daily habits of dental hygiene and brushing teeth. Candy can cause cavities and harm to children’s teeth (yes, adult’s too!). In some cases, the wrong types of candy can lead to broken teeth and damaged braces.

Halloween is…the perfect time to discuss nutrition, too.  Candy is not poisonous – it’s just not nutritious and is made of sugar.

Halloween is…a season to introduce the concept of sharing.  As we gear up for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, Halloween is the perfect time to talk about giving and sharing your treats to others.

Ditch the Candy!

Okay, so when the fun and excitement of trick-or-treating has come and gone and you’ve helped your kids portion out their candy – of course, picking out the best of their stash - they will probably have about 5 pounds left.  What should you do with it?  BLEND has the perfect place!  Sartell Pediatrics and Pediatrics Dentistry P.C. is hosting a Candy Buy-Back Event.

On Thursday, November 1 (5-7p.m.) bring your kids and your unopened Halloween candy to the Sartell Pediatrics Clinic to get weighed and then shipped overseas to our courageous troops (who could sure use a treat or two!) serving our country in the Middle East.  In return, we’ll give your kids fun give-aways and a chance to win great prizes.  We’re not kidding!  Prizes include iPad, bicycle, XBox 360 and more!   Read the St. Cloud Times articles for more details

Check out this video of an event similar to the upcoming Candy Buy-Back Event… 

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Sweet Tooth Satisfaction!

Some of you might be thinking “isn’t Halloween candy bad for the troops, too?”  Yes, too much candy is bad for everyone, but for our troops serving in the military Halloween candy represents a pleasant memory of life “back home” and a little Halloween treat can warm their heart and give them comfort.  It also shows the troops we care and support their commitment to protecting our freedoms. The candy will be wrapped in special Halloween care packages and given to the service men and women…some of which never receive letters or packages.

Enjoy this Halloween season - get in your costumes, go trick-or-treating, eat a little candy and donate the rest to our deployed military.  Spread the word and share this post with others!