The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced recently that it will double its commitment to ensuring that all children grow up at a healthy weight. A large part of that commitment, and one of their five new “big bets,” is making healthy schools across the country the norm―not the exception.
Since the launch of the Smart Snacks Sweethearts campaign earlier this month, we have been continually inspired by stories from across the country of dedicated people doing great work toward making healthy schools the norm. This week, we wanted to share a few of our favorite stories and comments that have been submitted so far. Enjoy!
“Kristin Dickerhoff is an amazing and inspiring teacher of special needs students. She initiated the placement of the Veggie U program (a classroom garden program that teaches where real food comes from) into six classrooms of students with developmental disabilities. She has also initiated securing a Vitamix grant to provide the students with healthy smoothies, and an activities grant to ensure the students receive supplemental Adapted Physical Education. She's awesome!” ― Vicki Jenkins, Ohio
“Harriet Worobey is the Director of the Nutritional Sciences Preschool, a preschool she took over and has been a part of since 1991. In this program, children make their own healthy snacks every day they are in school. These creative snacks inspire the preschoolers to try new foods, new food combinations, and emphasize all of the benefits of healthy eating and snacking. She does not stop with the children! Throughout the school year, she holds workshops for parents and families, provides recipes of foods that the children really respond to so that they can be recreated at home, and is a sounding board for families who may have specific nutritional needs (from allergies, to needing a gluten-free diet, to reluctant eaters). She has a way of offering realistic advice for families, explaining the importance of "sometimes foods" and "anytime foods" without judgement on what a family decides. She is a true Smart Snacks Sweetheart!” ― Lisa Volino, New Jersey
“As a registered dietitian, a member of our district wellness committee and a concerned citizen, Sarah Seppa has been instrumental in educating parents and teachers in our school district about Smart Snacks. She helped secure a state grant that allowed for the creation of a Healthy Classrooms Initiative that involved educating all district staff about our new district wellness policy and ways to promote healthy classroom snacks. She's currently at work on a Smart Snacks display designed to educate parents about wholesome, affordable snack options for lunchboxes, celebrations and fundraisers.” ― Stacy Whitman, Idaho
“I nominate Cathy Southwick for the Smart Snack Sweetheart award because she promotes healthy living at her school by managing the school garden at Kramer Elementary. She inspires her students to live healthy lifestyles by incorporating nutrition and healthy eating into her lessons. Cathy and the PE teacher have worked out an agreement where the students rotate between PE and gardening class each week. Cathy has also helped form a partnership with Whole Foods where a healthy eating specialist comes to Kramer Elementary each month and conducts cooking classes with produce grown in the school garden. Over the years, Kramer Elementary has applied for numerous grants and has been awarded $84,000 towards their school garden. The garden contains an outdoor classroom, water feature, earth science station, vegetable beds and perennial beds. It is beautiful! Cathy Southwick is also involved in the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program, which awards schools with grant funding for the excellent work they do to promote healthy and nutrition on their campus.” ― Shelby Epperson, Texas
And these are just a few of the fantastic comments we’ve received so far. If you haven’t had a chance, take a look at the map showcasing these incredible stories and so many more. And don’t forget to send all the Smart Snacks Sweethearts a thank you note to let them know their hard work is appreciated!