Recently I was contacted by an organization called HealthCorps—a national national nonprofit working to fight childhood obesity in the US.
The organization was founded by the one and only Dr. Oz (yes, Oprah’s top guy). HealthCorps partners with schools across the country to provide educational programs on health, fitness and nutrition. After checking out their site I was definitely impressed with their program and mission.
Here are some things I learned:
- The curriculum is composed of three sections — Mental Resilience, Nutrition and Fitness.
- HealthCorps Coordinators work in classrooms, the lunchroom and run after-school clubs to provide materials that integrate these elements into a comprehensive health education.
- The program is in 62 schools in 13 states and the District of Columbia
impacting 40,000 students.
I love the fact that they are bringing healthy living education and resources directly into schools! Lots of young people lack exposure and access to such information.
HealthCorps in Bmore
I was excited to learn that one of their program schools is actually right down the road from me here in Baltimore!I reached out to the local program Coordinator, Alica Diehl, to learn more.
Alica told me that she was actually putting on a Health Fair at her school the very next day and invited me to come. It would be a great representation of what her program is about.
The fair had an Olympic theme with the motto “become a champion of your health.” Tables were set up all around the perimeter of the gym featuring activities and information on everything from healthy recipes, to the benefits of yoga.
There was a table teaching students how to make their own healthy smoothies, with free samples (obviously a hit).
The school has a garden in the courtyard outside their cafeteria where students can learn about agriculture. As a Baltimore City resident I can attest to the fact that gardening opportunities are quite limited. Patterson High students can get involved and actually experience growing their own food. Fun!
The “Breakfast Bingo” table focused on the importance of starting your morning with a healthy breakfast. One of the biggest reasons for skipping breakfast for these kids is that they claim they don’t have enough time. The “no excuses” box below speaks to that!
The students had to answer trivia questions such as:
Q: “If you have peanut butter, pop-tarts, coffee, Lucky Charms, wheat toaster waffles, bananas and milk, what’s a healthy breakfast you can create? If must contain fiber, protein and vitamins and not too much sugar!” (A: Wheat toaster waffle with peanut butter and sliced banana!)
One of the most eye-opening for the students was the table regarding sugar content in their favorite beverages. As you can see in the picture below that can of Arizona Iced Tea contains ALL. OF. THAT. SUGAR.
The two students running the table told me how surprised their classmates were when they shared that with them. Hopefully by seeing it this way they will be inclined to think twice when making beverage choices.
I left the fair feeling very inspired. Nutrition and healthy eating are something I’ve truly developed a passion for and it was so great to see this type of information being passed along to the students of Baltimore City.
I met up with Alicia for coffee last week to further discuss her work, potential volunteer opportunities, and blogging. As a coordinator she wears many different hats and does SO much for her school and community. I’m hoping to get involved and volunteer with her after school cooking club over the next few months.
HealthCorps is doing such great work for the kids of our country and I’m so glad to have been introduced to it. You can visit their site HealthCorps.org for more information.
Also, check out my recipe for Fresh Herb Quinoa featured on their Tumblr site!
I want to know…
Do you currently do any volunteer work? If so, with what organization?