Under the School Wellness Project with FCHS banner of programs, students and their families participating in the 21st Century Afterschool program at Bolger Middle School in Keansburg, NJ were involved in several educational programs and activities during the course of the academic year and summer programs.
A series of interactive programs led by FCHS educators instructed students on the health benefits of including a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to their daily diet. Taste testing and preparation of various familiar and less commonly known fruits and vegetables were part of activities on healthy snacks and cooking a healthy meal on a budget.
Families were provided with fresh produce as part of a “Jersey Fresh” day after partaking in a cooking demonstration and interactive games about food, nutrition, and health. Parents and students were invited to a supermarket tour at Whole Foods. The tour was led by the store chef and nutrition/public relations staff as well as the FCHS educator. The FCHS educator provided a brief preparatory discussion about food groups, materials to conduct a nutriton based scavenger hunt in the store, and take home materials using FCHS fact sheets on tips for grocery shopping, recipes on calcium rich diets, ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in the diet and a copy of the Visions newsletter. The store provided an introduction to and tasting of a variety of vegan snacks, discussed with students what “organic” means, sent children home with a free food item of their choosing, and gave students an opportunity to understand the cost saving benefits of buying in bulk or bringing their own containers to the store, the concept of being eco-friendly with packaging, and also seeing foods in their unprocessed form.
Also, FCHS educators provided a toolkit of activities and information for teachers to use to work with students in between sessions with the FCHS educator using various materials from USDA team nutrition, FCHS generated publications, national extension programs, and Produce for Better Health. Teachers were encouraged to incorporate nutriton into their academic lessons.
At the end of the school year, FCHS participated in a family recognition night where students were given certificates of participation and water bottles with the health message, “Get Moving Get Healthy with FCHS”, to reinforce the objectives of the program.