Dorothy (in blue) teaching with fellow volunteer Gloria Messer.
When Dorothy Summers finally retired in January 2013, she wasn’t prepared to just sit around. Then the Indianapolis OASIS catalog arrived in the mail.
“My husband and I were both members of OASIS, but I hadn’t had time to attend any of the programs,” she explained. “I went through the catalog and saw a picture of the children in the CATCH Healthy Habits program. I knew that was something I wanted to do.”
As fate would have it, the CATCH Healthy Habits program was being offered at the summer camp at the Aunt Mame Child Development Center, a place where Dorothy had previously worked as a teacher’s assistant. “I was really excited about going back there,” she added.
The CATCH program combats the serious public health problem of obesity by engaging mature adults as mentors to teach healthy lifelong habits to kids in grades K-5. Dorothy teamed with two other volunteers to deliver the eight-week program to 20 children in grades K-2. While the other volunteers prepared healthy snacks and led exercise activities, Dorothy focused on reading the stories and teaching the children about nutrition and the benefits of an active lifestyle.
Dorothy (on the far right in the
blue shirt) with fellow Auntie Mame CATCH Healthy Habits volunteers Gloria Messer, left, and Charlene Gee in the middle
“I really enjoyed it,” she said. “Most of the children have never had any instruction on things like checking the amount of sugar or salt or fat in their foods. But they catch on fast and they remember what they learn."
“For me, it was also a learning experience.” Dorothy noted. “It has helped me think about eating the right foods. Now when I go to the store, I think about the Hearty Heart stories we read and it helps me make better choices.”
Dorothy looks forward to teaching the CATCH Healthy Habits program again. “I love working with children. They say the funniest things,” she said. “I’ve really loved every bit of it.”