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Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Michigan Surgeon General and GWP Project Director welcomed more than 100 teachers, administrators and principals representing 21 different schools to the Generation With Promise (GWP) Triple E Kickoff Eat! Exercise! Educate! at Focus:HOPE on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
The event was held for Coordinated School Health Teams (CSHT) members at GWP Level One and mini-grant schools across the state. The program included lots of physical activity, nutrition information and teambuilding exercises; all designed to provide CSHT's with information and inspiration. Youth Leadership Coordinator Carris Carey served as emcee for the day, introducing William Jones, CEO of Focus:HOPE as the first speaker to welcome the group to the facility.
Terry Foster, sports columnist for the Detroit News and radio talk show host for 97.1 The Ticket, inspired the group with his own story about his recent healthy lifestyle change, since being diagnosed with Type II diabetes and high cholesterol in July 2009. Foster explained how important it is that kids learn early about healthy eating and physical activity.
The highlight of the day was the school shout-out time. The 21 teams showed spirit that ranged from songs and chants, sign language to full cheerleader-type routines. Robert Burns Elementary/Middle School brought out the pom pons for their school cheer, Fair Plain Renaissance and Hull Middle Schools from Benton Harbor added cartwheels to their routine and Parker Elementary Middle School stole the show with a fraternity step show that ended on the floor with a half-split. Evaluations completed at the end of the day showed the school shout-out portion to be the most interesting and fun part of the Triple E Kickoff.
Other morning activities included an icebreaker meet and greet where participants got to learn more about others from the various schools. Dr. Anne Murphy, Lead Evaluator for GWP, presented facts and myths about nutrition in an interactive powerpoint presentation. The nutrition segment was expanded into a practical lesson on how to prepare a healthy meal from two chefs from Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan. Rachell Bonelli and Mike Schramm wowed the crowd with a cooking demonstration and sample tasting of veggies and rice. The Generation With Promise Family Enhancement Project uses chefs and a nutrition educator to teach middle school students and their parents/caregivers about healthy eating in an afterschool program.
Next, it was time for a challenging teambuilding exercise that required the CSHT's to get up close and personal. Each team had to figure out how to fit ten people into a small square and get out of a "human knot." Guest speaker Jean Blaydes-Madigan gave got the crowd on their feet with a presentation on how physical activity helps brain development. Her recommendations included activities that teachers could take back to the classroom to stimulate learning. Participants gave Madigan high marks for the information she shared on kinetic learning. One attendee noted, "Teachers need to hear and see Jean Blaydes-Madigan. This would help them understand how to implement concept of exercise." Another attendee wrote that the most memorable part of the presentation was the quote, "The brain is only as good as the body that carries it."
At the end of the day, the spotlight was focused on several schools who have used funds from the Generation With Promise project grants to create healthier students and staff. Robert Burns, J.C. Nichols Elementary/Middle Schools in Detroit, Kosciuszko Middle School in Hamtramck and Hull Middle School in Benton Harbor were able to tell their success stories and share best practices. Their school facilities have been enhanced with walking tracks, weight rooms, salad bars, tobacco prevention campaigns and more physical activity built into the school day.
The Coordinated School Health Teams left with an armload of goodies that included banners, GWP lunch bags, water bottles, pedometers, mousepads and other giveaways. Overall, CSHT members left knowing how to eat, exercise and educate.