Starting left: Bruce Hall, Gayla Moghannam, Kathy Rabun, Nancy Vandell, and Vanessa Berastain.
I remember the day I raised my hand at a PTA meeting and asked if our school and district could do better for our students. What I found was astonishing. I found parent leaders, administration, PTA volunteers and students that were just as passionate about health and wellness as I was. I am proof that it just takes one person to start a movement. It takes just one person to raise their hand to ask a simple but important question, “Can we do better for our youth?”
Since that pivotal moment, I have found friends, parents, PTA leaders and students around the country who want to see healthier options in our school lunch program, more nutrition education in our classrooms, healthier celebrations and rewards, and more physical education on campus. I am using resources from The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the USDA, and research from the California State PTA Health website to build an action plan for change in our school and district. They make it so simple for us to initiate change.
At our first Council PTA Health and Wellness meeting, I was joined by Kathy Rabun, California State PTA Vice President for Health, Nancy Vandell, Thirty-Second District PTA President, Bruce Hall, Director of Child Nutrition for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, and Vanessa Berastain, San Ramon Council of PTAs President. We taste tested a meal straight from our school lunch menu. We had over 25 parent volunteers attend the meeting to share their passion for health and wellness. As a team, we are committed to inspire healthier habits within our homes, schools and community. It was an extraordinary gathering.
As Health and Wellness Chairs, we want better for our youth. Better can be as simple as trading soda for water at the upcoming dance, better can be offering non-food based fundraising ideas, better can be sending an email to the Director of Child Nutrition and asking for more variety of fruits and vegetables, and better can be swapping candy rewards for extra recess time. We know that change can be free, simple and extremely effective. We are proof. It just takes one person to raise their hand and ask the question at an upcoming meeting, “Can we do better?” The answer is “Yes”.
Gayla Moghannam is the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs Health and Wellness Chair. She is also an Ambassador with The Alliance for a Healthier Generation.