While the Beatles made their appearance in America on the Ed Sullivan show some 50 years ago, today, our OASIS version of the “British invasion” came to Atlanta in the form of CATCH Healthy Habits volunteer, Janet Thomas.
Janet may be new to the U.S. but she joined CATCH with an extensive background in nutrition education. “As a citizen of the UK, I was keen to find out how nutrition education and adopting healthy lifestyle habits are delivered and work here.”
Janet understands how important it is to help children develop healthy habits and act as a good role model, so she was a perfect fit for Atlanta’s CATCH Healthy Habits program.
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet people with similar interests, work as part of a team and learn from them,” Janet says. Having worked in isolation in the classroom (usually the only adult) she says, it’s good to see how others interpret and implement the lessons. “I have so many new ideas I can use in the future!”
Janet likes getting to know the children in CATCH. “It doesn’t matter what kind of a day you’ve had … there is always one little character who will make you smile!” She also enjoys the flexibility in the program with opportunity to both lead and also participate in the CATCH session. “It’s good to change roles. Sometimes I lead the lesson and sometimes I become one of the ‘young’ people taking part in the exercise or snack planning – it’s a great intergenerational partnership,” she says.
One of the best things about CATCH, Janet says, is that the program helps adults to re-evaluate their own lifestyle and make positive changes. “Since joining the program, I have joined a local gym and am trying to be more consistent with exercise – it’s never too late!”
Janet encourages anyone who likes working with children and having fun to consider getting involved in CATCH Healthy Habits. “All participants are valued as team members and volunteers, which is a great for personal self-esteem,” she says. “Overall, the main aim is to have fun and out of that fun there will also be opportunities for you to make positive lifestyle changes.”