Local School Wellness Program success garners state recognition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2017
The Roaring Forks Schools is excited to announce that Carrie Godes, parent and Public Health Specialist with Garfield County Public Health, has been recognized as an honorable mention for the Colorado Action for Healthy Kids’ “Parents Are the Power 2017 Healthy School Hero Award.” Parents are nominated for their demonstrated exceptional dedication and service towards the vision, mission, and goals of Action for Healthy Kids through volunteer work at their school.
Nominated by Sopris Elementary School (SES) Principal, Kathy Whiting, Godes is recognized for the work that she does as a leader and parent wellness champion at SES. “The work that Carrie has done at SES has become a model to our school district. The conversation began with healthy eating and movement during the school day and the conversation now moved to life-long sustainable healthy eating and movement for kids and faculty both in and out of the school day. She truly has made a positive, lasting impact upon our wellness practice at Sopris Elementary and with our community as a whole.”
Because students spend most of their waking hours in school, and the average student consumes about 50% of their calories on school grounds, SES started a wellness committee in the Spring of 2015. The committee’s goal was to get students eating better and moving more. And these efforts have made a difference. A 2016 student survey asked how much do the adults in your school care about your health, and 91% responded favorably--a 10% increase from 2015 and above the district average in the wellness category.
Some of the programs that have been implemented at SES include a “No Sugar in School Week” for which the school partnered with Safeway to ensure that any student bringing an unhealthy snack to school could swap it for a healthy one. The committee also launched a program that provided balls and recess equipment for the playground and purchased a karaoke machine and other fun items for the “celebration binder,” a program that entices kids to celebrate their birthday with fun alternatives to unhealthy treats.
“Promoting wellness is a passion of mine. I think my favorite moment was during No Sugar in School Week when I went to visit a classroom to see how the kids were liking the healthy snacks. The kids were being taught all week to eat healthy and bring only healthy snacks from home. However, if they did bring something like a candy bar or chips, we had arranged for healthy snacks to be on hand to ‘swap it out.’ A kid came up to me and admitted to having snuck in an unhealthy treat from their old Halloween candy just so that they could trade it in for a health snack at school,” said Godes.
Parents interested in starting or collaborating with other school wellness programs are encouraged to contact Garfield County Public Health.
“Without the dedicated commitment and support of Sopris Principal Kathy Whiting, the Wellness Committee would not have been able make as lasting of an impact,” Godes said. “To be successful. it takes a close partnership between school administration and wellness advocates. The end result is a great school with healthy and happy students and staff, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”