The Jacksonville Park Foundation and Passavant Area Hospital are partnering with Illinois College Professor Jeremy Turner to give away helmets to every fourth grade student in Jacksonville.

The Protect the Melon! campaign encourages youth to wear a helmet when biking, roller skating, riding a scooter, skateboarding or any other "wheeled" activity. “The importance of wearing a helmet has been shown to save lives and protect against brain injuries,” said Dr. Turner. “Being active is essential to being a healthy child, and with that comes falls and tumbles.”

Illinois College psychology students have been presenting the brain awareness program and giving away bicycle helmets to fourth graders at Lincoln Elementary for a number of years. Jacksonville Park Foundation founding board member Harry Ford had the idea to expand the program to all the schools in the community. Passavant has agreed to provide proceeds from the May 31 Passavant-Powerade 5K and 10K Race to provide helmets for all 350-plus fourth graders in Jacksonville public and private schools.

On Thursday, April 17, Illinois College students will travel to District 117 schools to give a lesson on how the brain works, show how a melon with and without a helmet fares when hitting the pavement, and distribute the helmets. Distribution to Our Saviour School, Salem Lutheran School, Westfair Christian Academy and Illinois School for the Deaf will be at a later date.

The Jacksonville Park Foundation is working with the Pilot Club and others in the community to fund the program for future years. Contact Foundation President Steve Warmowski 217-245-4178 or visit to help. It's cool to be a Melonhead and wear your helmet! 
Check out these links for more valuable information on the importance of helmets:
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