Faces of the Movement
Behind every healthy school, every healthy district, and all the thousands of kids learning healthy habits on campuses around the nation, there are a few extra motivated individuals that see the connection between healthy students and successful learners. These are 19 of those extra motivated individuals.
A Healthy Schools Program Ambassador is a parent, a principal, a superintendent, a coach, a teacher – Ambassadors play a number of different roles in or around the school space. And they play those roles in addition to leading the change for health at their schools.
They have put in the time to use our program in innovative ways that work, and have now stepped up as mentors to instruct, encourage, and guide others to create the same type of change at their schools. They know the changes they have made are often replicable; and they are ready to show you how.
The changes Ambassadors create at schools usually have one of three discerning traits – they create opportunities for movement, they create opportunities for nutrition, or they promote a culture of health that encourages students and staff to take advantage of the first two.
A Face of Movement
Tony Swan is a principal at Pelican Elementary School in Klamath Falls, Ore. He’s a marathon runner, a road biker, and a snowboarder. And being a principal, Tony uses his role as an opportunity to instill the benefits of an active lifestyle into his students and staff.
To cut down the barriers to participate in physical activity, Tony offers to pay registration fees for staff to participate in local fitness events and has worked to reduce or eliminate fees connected to student athletics. Along with utilizing Safe Routes to School to encourage walking and biking to school, Tony has set the expectation around campus that every class at this K-5 school will have 30 minutes of physical education per day in addition to a 15-minute recess.
A Face of Nutrition
Deborah Archer is a nutrition educator in Maryland and has her sights set on Prince George’s County. Deborah has already managed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption throughout the county and plans to continue educating and generating awareness to make that change sustainable.
To do so, Deborah facilitates a 10-week training course teaching teachers how to integrate nutrition education into their school curriculum. Outside of the classroom, Deborah has sponsored garden projects and supplements gardening activities with integrated lessons on nutrition.
Casey Hinds is a parent at Ashland Elementary School in Kentucky. Casey has not just worked with her school to remove unhealthy options, but she has also helped shift the view on how her school handles rewards.
Casey has worked to replace cookie and candy fundraisers for the PTA with a 5K fun run, and has organized an annual school-wide jog-a-thon. She understands the importance of activity and the negative effects food as a reward can cause, so Casey encourages school staff to use extra recess bonuses as an incentive over food.
Finally, Casey understands that change doesn’t come right when healthy opportunities become available but only when those opportunities are taken. To encourage this change, Casey has taken to social media, becoming an avid blogger and a voice of authority on Twitter. She aims to ignite change in her area by encouraging all the parents, teachers, and students she can reach to take those healthy opportunities.
Just like any organization that has a cause, we are only as good as the changes we make to improve that cause. Our Ambassadors are our leaders in the field of school health. They are the faces of the change we are making. They are the change we are making. And we are very proud to show them off.
Take a look at our 2013 – 2014 Ambassadors. Get to know what they have done and are planning to do. And then reach out to them. They’re here to share what they have learned.