Three volunteers have gone the extra mile at the Allisonville Elementary AYS (At Your School) program in Indianapolis to help kids build a healthier future.
Dorothy Summers teaches the children about healthy eating
Dorothy is so compelling as she tells the children the story of Hearty Heart – a mythical intergalactic character – that some kids ask if he is real.
“Children are willing to learn about nutrition and exercise,” says Dorothy, a former teacher. “I see them making changes in their attitude and awareness of their health,” she says. “They notice that we volunteers are older, but still active and healthy.”
Dorothy says the program has benefited her own lifestyle choices.
“I started paying attention to my health before I started with the program. Now I am sure to read labels and make note even when eating in restaurants. I stay moving as well, every day.”
Grace Broten brings healthy, appealing snacks
“My work with the children is very rewarding to me, “ says Grace. “They are attentive and have good and thoughtful insight on the topics we discuss.”
Grace first heard about the program at a Healthy Habits for Adults class. She takes her role as the snack provider to another level. For Thanksgiving she put “Snacking on the trail” mix in colorful bags with a Thanksgiving poem on the front. She explains the nutritional value of each snack, reinforcing their knowledge of healthy choices.
Josephine Poelinitz, a retired music teacher, brings energy, music and fun
A retired music teacher, Josephine leads games and aerobic activities set to catchy tunes that are simple enough to learn quickly.
“This experience was a grand outlet for me to incorporate vocal music and movement in the activities. The children have shared some of these games and exercises with their friends.”
A 20-year devotee of a plant-based diet, Josephine is concerned about the health of the country and the environment.
“Good eating habits must be established at a young age. As one first grader told us, ‘I must keep my body strong so I can help take care of our planet.’ The children are sharing information about good habits with their parents, relatives and friends. It gives me hope that health conditions in our country will improve.”
“These volunteers have really supported each other in their roles,” says Debby Wright, CATCH Healthy Habits coordinator for Indianapolis Oasis. “It is a joy to watch this team at work!”
Learn more about opportunities to volunteer with the program: