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“A healthy and active lifestyle is as easy as taking the first step in the right direction.” That’s sage advice from Jose De La Paz, the first place high school winner in SOSMentor’s Healthy Messages Poster Contest.
Now in its 4th year, the Healthy School Campaign brings nutrition education to over 14,000 students in 700 schools. Los Angeles Unified School District students in elementary through high school participate in a “healthy messages” poster contest. Students create posters with a message about nutrition, exercise or healthy living. The posters are then displayed in the schools as an effective visual reminder to students, teachers and staff to make positive choices throughout the day.
In a partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell Services, students in the after-school program in elementary and middle schools also receive 6 weeks of SOSMentor’s nutrition education curriculum. High school art students also receive nutrition education. Students learn about planning meals to meet the Federal MyPlate guidelines, the benefits of whole grains, and the dangers of soda.
Students share their new knowledge with their families each week by bringing home printed materials in English and Spanish. At the end of the campaign, students also complete a “Students Teaching Parents Activity” in which families brainstorm how they can exercise, shop, cook and eat healthier together. Maria Ramos, mother of an 8th grader Arielle at Patrick Henry Middle School said, "Arielle explained that we can make a list of healthy food at home before we go to the market and then skip the junk food aisles."
Finalists and their families attend an awards dinner hosted at St. Vincent Medical Center in April each year. Lori Corbin, ABC7’s “Food Coach” is the MC for the event and the Lakers Girls share their favorite healthy living tips.