Pre-College Programs

Teaching Kids to Eat Right

From the Leadership Institute Symposium on Social Change

Author: Arielle Cooper

The goal of my action plan was to teach underprivileged children about better nutrition and eating habits so that they would want to eat healthy foods and then have that love and acceptance of those foods for the rest of their lives.  The ultimate goal of my plan was to start a program in the New York City public school system that would educate children about food and healthy eating habits.  In order to reach that goal, I wanted to set up a pilot program at my school, Friends Seminary, a private school, where I thought it would be more easily achievable. 

Unfortunately, it has been much more difficult than I expected  it would be.  The garden at my school where I had wanted to plant food and spices (such as eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme) to be used in the school lunches and in the classrooms was already being used and there were many issues with the bureaucratic aspects of putting my pilot program into action.  I speak with to the principal of my school as well as the head of the upper school to try and get my program in place, but unfortunately they were unable to help much. 

I am still trying to get a pilot program started at my school, but in the meantime I am trying to work with different organizations that are also interested in educating children about food and nutrition.  In addition, this summer I am going to intern at Saveur, a food magazine, and hope to write about the issue in the magazine to raise awareness and explore additional ways to get involved using the connections I will make there.

While working on my original action plan, I also have been doing some other projects.  One of the things that I took away from the Symposium was that it is important to never give up on the ultimate goal of your action plan, even if it needs to be tweaked along the way.  I have been to raising money for the VH1 Save the Music Program, which helps children get musical instruments and learn how to play music.  As a leader of the Rock Music Club at my school, we have worked to hold concerts to benefit this organization.  At our first concert, which was held in December, we raised only $200 because it happened to be a very cold and rainy night so not many people came, and we could not reschedule.  We had planned to have two more concerts this year to benefit the foundation, but in light of the earthquake in Haiti we have decided to raise money to assist our school’s effort to raise money for relief and recovery in Haiti.  Our next concert is going to be on April 9th, and hopefully it will be successful and raise money to help Haiti. 

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