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Gimme Five: Wendy Cooper



Name: Wendy Cooper

Title: Founder and President

Organization: Healthy Highway

How did you end up here today, and what motivates you to work on issues to help our kids grow up healthier?
I was a Physical Education teacher for 30 years. During my last 5 years of teaching I designed a new concept for my students to learn about nutrition and staying active. It incorporated the concept that our bodies are like car engines, and we need good fuels to put into that engine to keep it running smoothly.  I watched my students not only embrace the concepts, but internalize them as they made healthy choices and run at top performance. Due to the success of the program, I designed a curriculum and kit for schools so I could share it with other professionals and Healthy Highway was born. I retired 9 years ago but have been on the road to healthy choices ever since. My motivation: to watch the children get excited when they know they are making healthy choices, and then share that with their families.

How are you working to change the environment to make it healthier and create a culture of health?

With my new e-magazine initiative, I will be discussing ways to help our environment – from eating “green” to creating a family garden to creating a “learning lab” in the kitchen. I hope to educate children and their families in understanding that we have the innate value of being healthy, and to listen to our own “GPS” or inner “Go to Power Source”. Healthy Highway makes it fun to make healthy choices and helps to celebrate those choices.

What are your biggest accomplishments in helping children achieve a healthy weight?

When we understand that our bodies are true miracles, and that we are in charge of making the best choices we can for those bodies, we become empowered. Every person has the ability to do this. We know we look good, feel good, and have plenty of energy when we put in high performance fuels and rev our engines with exercise.

What excites you the most about showing up for work every day?

I have the great opportunity to meet people from across the country. My goal with the e-magazine is to have families from each state sign up. Children will have the opportunity to email Rev, the Healthy Highway mascot.  What a fun way to interact with children and share their “road trips” to healthy choices. I love seeing their pictures and hearing about their healthy choices. I am privileged to be a part of those stories.

If you were starting out in your career, what would you recommend to your younger self?

Tip of the day from the person. 

Always accept people where they are at… and learn from them. Everyone has knowledge to give.

What game or sport did you play growing up? OR What was your favorite healthy food growing up?

Growing up I was always active and loved being outdoors. I played golf, water skied, and ran track.

Each week, our own Amy Stone speaks with a Leader to get a quick look at why he or she loves working to create healthy environments for kids. Want to take part? Visit Amy’s profile and contact her.