By Maria H., Kansas State Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador
I think it’s really important to have programs like Fuel Up to Play 60 that focus on healthy eating and physical fitness at school because students don’t always have the time or opportunity to be healthy at home.
Since implementing school wellness initiatives at Jardine STEM and Career Explorations Academy in Wichita, we’re already seeing positive changes. At Jardine, the Fuel Up to Play 60 team reaches out and educates the other students about what healthy food choices are available and why to continue to make these choices on an ongoing basis. Students used to pass over healthier options at lunchtime and fill up their trays with cookies and chips, instead. Now, I’m seeing students choosing fruits and vegetables in the lunch line. And compared to last year, less milk is going to waste. They’re making other healthy changes, too. In PE class, instead of just standing on the sidelines and watching a handful of students participate, more students are joining in and getting active. I’m becoming more active, too. I never used to be very active, but I’m now involved in sports like volleyball and soccer and overall, I feel like I have a healthier lifestyle.
Since becoming the Kansas State Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador, I’ve noticed other changes about myself, too. Being the Student Ambassador means that I’ll have several opportunities to talk in front of a lot of people throughout the year, telling them about the importance of making healthy choices. Since becoming the Student Ambassador, I’ve become less shy about public speaking and I’ve also become a better leader.
My favorite part of being the Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador is coming up with ideas for healthy events at school and figuring out how to make them happen. For example, one idea we recently came up with is a Fuel Up to Play 60 dance off to get more students active and to have fun doing it! That’s taking place later in the school year and students are already looking forward to it.
It’s been a lot of fun getting to share my excitement about making healthier choices with my fellow students. Together, with the rest of the Fuel Up to Play 60 team and the other students, I can’t wait to see all of the changes we have yet to make!
Maria H., of Jardine STEM and Career Explorations Academy in Wichita, Kans., attended the National Student Ambassador Summit for Fuel Up to Play 60 champions throughout the country in July 2015. When she’s not encouraging her peers to stay active and eat healthy, Maria enjoys playing volleyball, soccer and basketball, skateboarding and walking her dog. Maria looks forward to sharpening her leadership skills as Kansas’ Fuel Up to Play 60 State Student Ambassador for 2015-2016 and is excited to apply her newly developed leadership skills in every aspect of her life.
Providing breakfast at school is one of the most cost-effective steps schools can take to improve student wellness. Popular programs don’t cost much to implement and schools end up avoiding the high costs associated with remedial coursework and high absenteeism. In fact, it may cost schools up to $1,392 per student in additional instructional spending to offset the effects of obesity.