Giving Back

I had a great meeting today with the local school district, basically a progress meeting on our Go, Slow, Whoa program. You can read more about the program here. Last school year we implemented the program in 3 elementary schools, and we’re launching it in 4 more within the next few weeks.

My part is the menu analysis – deciding which menu items will count as Go, Slow, or Whoa. I think that’s everyone’s favorite part of the meeting – always an eye opening experience to see what’s being served (and how much butter is in it!).

For me, however, my favorite part was hearing that we are, in fact, making a difference. I loved hearing a story from a grandmother that her son took no trips to her candy jar at a recent visit after learning that candy is a WHOA food. The UT Extension agent who teaches nutrition lessons in one of our pilot schools says that the kids are talking about the new healthy foods they’re trying and eating at home. Success!!

I also brought along to the meeting the new Chop Chop magazine.

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If you haven’t heard about Chop Chop, and you live/work with kids, you need to check it out! It’s a nonprofit, kids magazine all about nutrition, food and cooking. There are no advertisements, and it’s full of great recipes, color photography, and nutrition lessons. AND it has a great advisory board (included one of my food heroes.. Walter Willett from the Harvard School of Public Health).

We’d love to get this magazine into the homes of all our students, but we’re stuck with budget issues (with over 8,000 students K-8!), so now I’m seeking funding from community partners/sponsors. Always fun asking for help!

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To balance out asking for help from the community, we should all make sure we do something to contribute our service/time/skills to the community. I applied today to be a mentor for a new initiative in our county, pairing mentors in the community with high school seniors who are the first in their family to go to college. As mentors, you help motivate, encourage and aid in the student’s application process.

I know The Boy has talked about how difficult an environment his home town and high school was when he was applying to college. There wasn’t a lot of support or expectations for students, so he was dependant on his parents’ support. For those who don’t even have support from their own home, it must be a daunting experience. That’s where super Elizabeth comes in! haha. But I think I’ll make a great mentor. I can bring them pumpkin chocolate cookies when they ace the ACT :)

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On a completely unrelated note: We had a dog party last night – celebrating Neuman’s and Sheff’s birthdays, and Bess’s departure to Kentucky. She’s meeting her new Dad tomorrow at 3pm, so we have approximately 20 hours left with Little Miss Bess. Aww… she’s been fun for the last 7 months, but it’s time for her to move to her forever home :)

DSCN0800 The dogs share my love for cupcakes, but they prefer american cheese and filet mignon-flavored canine pate to chocolate

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