Healthy Lifestyles Success Stories
PTAs across the country are coming up with creative ways to make healthy living fun! Check back periodically to read new success stories from PTAs just like yours.
Does your PTA have a Healthy Lifestyles Success Story you'd like to share? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Classical Center at Vial
The Fruits of Diversity campaign began with a feast for the Classical Center's fifth graders on the Monday prior to Thanksgiving. Banquet tables were stocked with fruits and vegetables, and students were required to taste each before writing "reviews" of the items sampled. Students then wrote essays about the experience, and the winner received a $50 gift card. Families were engaged through a request for fruit and vegetable recipes, which were posted on the school website under the heading, "Try This for Dinner Tonight." To encourage physical activity, the PTA also held a coin drive and purchased an indoor rock climbing wall to ensure access to active play on days when it is too hot to be outside.
Clinton Elementary's PTA began its Eat Smart to Be Smart campaign in November 2011 to make students more aware of how healthy food choices can improve their health, school work and attitude. Each student received a lunchtime punch card during five separate weeks. Students who chose a fruit or vegetable and ate it were given a punch on their card. At the end of each week, any student who had four or five punches was entered into a drawing for a gift card to Subway or Jamba Juice. Teachers also were encouraged to include healthy eating lessons in their classrooms. To encourage exercise, students brought home charts to track every time they chose exercise over TV time. These charts also were put into a drawing for a gift card. Families were engaged through a Facebook page and blog that was updated regularly with healthy strategies. To reward students for their hard work, the PTA hosted a Walk to School Day and a Field Day in May. They also purchased additional PE equipment for the school.
Coronado PTA hosted a series of events throughout the year focused on gathering families together to be active in fun and affordable ways, sharing ideas for healthy snack choices and developing lifelong healthy habits. Each family received a "passport," which was stamped at each event attended and included a place to record the family's miles moved during the six-month program. All activities were low-cost or free to make them accessible to all families. Events included city swim night, Zumba, yoga, group hikes, a bike safety rally and rock climbing. Teachers also were encouraged to track whole-class walking activities during the program.
Cynthia Heights Elementary School
Cynthia Heights PTA created the Wildcat Walkers program to promote a love of walking and healthy eating habits. Students were encouraged to walk or run around the perimeter of the school playground during their after-lunch recess. At intervals of 5 and 20 miles, they received small and large "foot" tokens to string on a shoestring or necklace. Those who reached 100 miles received a special "100 Mile Club" T-shirt. Walkers who completed a minimum number of miles also were invited to pep-rally style meetings four times per year. At these meetings, top walkers were recognized, healthy choices were reinforced, and students had the opportunity to sample new, healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, and "make your own" trail mix). Mileage for all walkers was plotted on a map of the United States and displayed on the gym wall year round. The top three walkers for the school year were treated to a special lunch with the school principal.
The "Healthy and Fit Stonewall" program was developed by the Stonewall PTA to promote nutrition and physical activity education. Students were encouraged to set and track progress toward two daily goals: consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables and complete 60 minutes of physical activity. Students also entered their favorite fruit or vegetable recipes in the Healthy Snack contest. Meanwhile, Stonewall PTA encouraged teachers to keep their students physically active during inclement weather by providing each teacher with a packet of information and ideas for indoor games and activities. The program was launched at a schoolwide Health and Wellness night, where students participated in hands-on activities such as sampling fresh apples, checking their palms for germs using an ultraviolet light and swinging tennis rackets. Families were engaged through a monthly newsletter that contained healthy fruit and vegetable recipes, ideas for how to be more active as a family, and healthy success stories from students, teachers, and parents.
For more information: http://stonewallpta.org/health-and-wellness/