Summertime. Routines are relaxed, schools quiet down and families have a chance to play late in the backyard, enjoying that magical light with the fireflies.
Idyllic as summertime may seem, we know thousands of you are sitting with laptops, working hard to plan a fun and prosperous new school year with your colleagues on the PTA. After work, between household duties and often late into the night, past even a firefly’s bedtime, we know you’re out there fund raising, building, researching, applying and collaborating with your community to raise the bar. Our children are the most important people in our lives, and their school, where they spend so much of their defining early years, is where many of us devote our precious few volunteer hours to make a difference.
I say “we” because I am the Mother of two elementary students and have served our local PTA for the past 6 years. Professionally, I am the Digital Program Manager for the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), a CEO-led organization, designed to help reduce obesity–especially childhood obesity–by 2015. The Foundation promotes ways to help people achieve a healthy weight through energy balance–calories in and calories out.
Core to our mission is community outreach and supporting schools through our Together Counts™ program. Through partnerships with organizations like the National PTA, HWCF is able to make grants to schools all over the country and it is gratifying to see the impact when teachers, parents, students and community members come together in support of their local school.
TogetherCounts.com is brimming with free, standards-aligned health and wellness resources, tools, videos and widgets, all designed to plug into what works at your school. The Energy Balance 101 curriculum is being used by thousands of teachers. There are door hangers and coloring pages for your nurse’s office. After school volunteers have a recipe and activity basket at their fingertips in “Energy Balance 101: Enrichment Zone,” especially designed to get kids moving and thinking about nutrition during clubs and camps. The entire program Together Counts is available in Spanish with take home resources created especially for Spanish speaking parents, who often are in great need of tips on how to make the home environment more energy balanced. All of these resources are made available to parent leaders like you to share with teachers, administrators and (of course) your own family. Energy balance is a path toward a more active, healthy lifestyle and we hope you’ll find Together Counts an invaluable wellness resource in your school.
You can make a direct impact on your school by applying now for one of our Healthy Lifestyles grants. We’d like to hear more about what your school needs to make small improvements for big impact.
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Valerie Newcomb is an adviser to the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation.