Lake Co. Girl Scout starts 'mile walk' at school

An 11-year-old girl has a big a dream: end childhood obesity. Fionnula Mendoza, who attends East Ridge Middle School, picked a project to help her earn a Silver Award for her Girl Scouts Troop.  She loves fitness so she wanted to implement a national program called "The Morning Mile" to her old elementary school, Minneola Charter Elementary School. Her goal: have all Lake County schools join in.
Monday morning FOX35 News was there as students from Minneola Charter Elementary walked or ran 13 laps or one mile around the basketball court. 
“I brought ‘The Morning Mile’ to the elementary schools because it would be a good way for them to get healthy,” said 11-year old Fionnula Mendoza. 
This project has helped her earn a Girl Scout Silver Award with Troop 9567.  
“It makes me feel really good because I feel like I’m making a difference in these kids’ lives,” she told us. 
Her former principal, Sherry Watts couldn’t be prouder. She says the school started the program September 1st. So far, the kids have logged more than one-thousand miles!
“I think it helps get their energy out a little bit and they’re ready to learn in the classroom because they have the blood flowing, they had a chance to socialize so when they go in the classroom, they’re engaged and ready to do what the teacher has assigned for them to do for the day,” said Minneola Charter Elementary School Principal Sherry Watts. 
Attorney Dan Newlin helped Mendoza sponsor “The Morning Mile.” 
“The $1,500 basically covers a software program for keeping track of how many laps; it covers these beautiful charms which the kids love and the necklaces,” said Mendoza’s mother Katie. “For the first 5 miles they get a necklace and one charm and for every additional 5 miles they get another charm and they can even earn a 100 mile charm.” 
The kids love it! 7-year old Ivy Valenta told us she walked 18 laps one day.
“It’s just fun and you get to hang out with your friends all the time and you get to walk and you get to exercise before class, it helps you think more in class so you can learn,” said the second grader Ivy Valenta.
Next week Mascot Elementary will start their “The Morning Mile.” Mendoza was able to get funding to help a third Lake County school get started in the next few weeks. 
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