by Claudia Olayo, Rogers Park Networker
As the CLOCC Community Networker for the Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago, I have the chance to work with local schools to help promote health and wellness. One that I have worked with is Jordan Elementary Community School. Here are some examples of projects we have done together.
In May 2010, Jordan School completed a Healthy School Environment Assessment facilitated by CLOCC staff. Some of the participants included school administration, teachers, parents, the school’s nurse, lunch room managers, and a few upper grade students.
After the results of the assessment were shared with the group, it was decided that the first step to address some of the issues identified was the creation of a School Wellness Council. Some of the aforementioned participants became the founding members and, voila! The Wellness Council was formed and has been meeting on a monthly basis. The team agreed the first issue to tackle was a lack of drinking water availability to the students during the school day; making drinking water more accessible to all Jordan students was the solution. The Wellness Council decided to use a small amount of grant money allocated from CLOCC to purchase water coolers/crocks in the shape of basketballs and soccer balls, which were approved by the student members of the Council, to be placed in the cafeteria and the gym. The coolers have been well received by parents and especially the students.
Another project the Wellness Council took on was the planning and realization of a Healthy Family Night, where a friendly game of Loteria, a Mexican version of Bingo, was to be played as an alternative to the usual unhealthy chocolate bar/candy sale fundraising.
The evening of March 24, 2011, 25 families turned out to take part in the Healthy Family Night. Parents and children alike participated in an interactive 25-minute bilingual presentation on CLOCC’s 5-4-3-2-1 Go! message. There was also a food demonstration in which a community volunteer engaged children in preparing a simple greens and quinoa salad with apples and walnuts. The parents and children enjoyed the salad and took home a copy of the recipe. That healthy hour showcasing the 5-4-3-2-1 Go! message was followed by an hour of Loteria where some won prizes, others learned a few words in Spanish, and all had fun!
For more information on 5-4-3-2-1 Go! and to see the free tools available for download, visit the CLOCC website.