Do you know what it feels like to be sent to school two hours late without first having a shower or any breakfast? Well, many of my students come to school in this state quite often. Nutrition should be on the mind of most parents but for many it takes a back seat to other more critical issues.
I am an elementary school teacher.
We are a hard to staff school and more than 90% of our students participate in the free lunch program. Our student body is predominantly African American with a small Hispanic population. Our school is located opposite a large housing project where most of the inhabitants fall into the low social economic bracket. Getting an education is a struggle for the young people in this community, as they are faced daily with many severe challenges.
Many of our students come from single family homes and have parents who are incarcerated or involved in gang activity. Arriving at school on time with a good breakfast and home work completed is a difficult task for many of them. Each day as a teacher, I am forced to teach to half of the classroom in the morning hours as many students arrive late without having breakfast and must be sent down to the cafeteria to eat. They can only eat if the staff there says its not too late to do so. Sometimes it's too late!!
For many years now I have worked with a nutritionist to facilitate a nutrition forum involving our students, in an effort to help them make more healthy choices. I want to have some healthy snacks to give to my students so that they can better focus and learn. I want them to get use to making healthier choices. Perhaps if they tasted different flavors of granola they might try it more often. I would like to get some healthy snacks for my students to eat during the day.
Many of my students are greatly overweight. I see how this fact affects them daily. It's difficult for them to run and play and have fun with their friends at recess. Instead they retreat into the building and try to sit at a computer, or they might lean on the fence and watch the others run and play. I want them to have some healthy nuts, granola and trail mix to snack on. I believe that our students would love to eat healthy snacks if they had the opportunity to taste them. Granola bars are expensive for them to eat.
My project is important because there is a critical need for educators to address the issue of obesity in our schools.
Too many of our children are suffering. Too many of them can not focus for they are hungry at times. My hope is that with some healthy snacks my students will be healthier and better able to focus during instruction. Your kind support means the world to the children of this community and would go a long way in helping to build a healthier lifestyle for this community.
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