Last month, Nathanael Greene Elementary School on Chicago’s southwest side hosted a health and wellness resource fair with many moving parts that worked together for a successful event. The event featured education, celebration and community resource components, all focused on what principal Michael Heidkamp describes as the school’s goal of “supporting students in really developing a lifestyle that makes living healthy normal and just what you do.”
The health and wellness committee, Greene Elementary’s parent-driven wellness team, organized the event. Students provided the entertainment for the evening, with program presentations to highlight the karate, soccer, yoga, and folkloric dance afterschool physical activity programs. The parent group combined the afterschool program celebration to highlight their commitment to school wellness and educate other parents about measures they could take to help improve their family’s health.
Student demonstrate their soccer skills to celebrate Greene Elementary's afterschool programs
Community agencies came in and provided glucose, blood pressure, and vision testing with additional resources to help participants seek follow-up healthcare services.
The fair also incorporated nutrition education, demonstrating small steps parents could take to start improving the diet and health of their families. School dining manager Christina Hernandez and a wellness team leader who happens to have the same name taught parents how to make smoothies with fruit and vegetables in them. The Principal Heidkamp exclaimed, “nobody knew the vegetables were there and they were amazed it. Kids were coming back for more!”
Fruit and veggie smoothies
The fair was a tremendous success with more than 300 people in attendance. Heidkamp cites “continued pride in the kids” as the greatest outcome. “Seeing kids breaking boards, you can’t underestimate the power of students demonstrating their high level of competency,” he said. “That was powerful and provided children with a platform to showcase their talents.”
The event also underscores the power of the parent. The fair highlights the wellness team as a resource for the whole school community. Parents, teachers and other school leaders can look to the committee for information and encouragement in making healthy decisions for the school and for their families. The evening also served as a means to get more parents involved in the school community’s health and wellness efforts.
Parent volunteers help serve healthful snacks during Greene Elememntary's health fair
Greene Elementary’s wellness fair demonstrates how school wellness teams can have an impact on both students and families. While supporting healthy changes to the school environment, the wellness team also provided resources to support families in making healthy choices at home.
Heidkamp added, “I’m always amazed. It’s really impressive to see the vision from the adults and their desire to make it real and do whatever it takes day in and day out.“
The Go for the Gold-supported school has also earned Gold-level recognition in the HealthierUS School Challenge with the support of its parent wellness team!
Stay tuned learn more about school wellness teams and parent engagement by visiting our Parents United for Healthy Schools blog updates.