We all know there is an obesity epidemic. We also know the epidemic impacts people of all ages, from childhood to adulthood. As a CATCH Healthy Habits volunteer, you are an important part of the solution.
|CATCH volunteers bike together in St. Charles County|
We can’t thank you enough for all you do to make your communities healthier for generations to come. In addition to teaching youth about healthy habits, you are also passing along knowledge and motivation to your peers and perhaps inspiring yourself too.
The CATCH Healthy Habits message has spread to millions across the United States – over 2.5 million in fact. Following an AARP Bulletin article a few years ago, we continue to receive numerous calls asking how they can benefit from CATCH Healthy Habits in their communities. Grandparents wanted to volunteer. Grandmothers wanted to enroll their grandchildren. And teachers wanted CATCH Healthy Habits as part of their after-school program.
It’s because of your inspirational stories and passion that others want to be involved, and they want to have you come to their schools and teach their children.
You have taught children that someone cares about their health and well-being. You have been a role model, a mentor and a trusting adult who has shown some children vegetables they had never seen or tasted before – like kiwi, starfruit and even whole pineapple. You have also taught your fellow volunteers how pineapples are grown – not on a tree. And, how to cut a pineapple – thank you Mr. Herman, a veteran who was once stationed in Hawaii where his love of pineapples started! And Mrs. Herman, also a veteran, who shared her love for smoothies – spinach smoothies that the children and adults tried together. Farmer John mesmerizes children with his stories about farming and Miss Cathy actually silenced a classroom (adults and children both were surprised!) when she did the splits. There are so many stories to share!
During many CATCH Healthy Habits lessons, you have not only motivated children, but also inspired your adult peers. You have shared gardening tips, recipe ideas and action plans to get more exercise. Volunteer teams have formed biking, swimming and walking clubs – others go to lunch or to the movies together.
Because of you, children and volunteers are more active and have adopted healthier eating habits. CATCH Healthy Habits does not stop after each one-hour session, but continues in our daily lives, reminding us that it is important to eat GO foods, participate in GO activities and engage in our communities every single day. And your dedication has yielded powerful results:
- Children observed participating in the volunteer-led CATCH Healthy Habits program exceeded physical activity intensity standards set for professionally led physical education classes by 18%. That means you are engaging children in valuable exercise, just as well or better than similar programs run by paid staff.
- Children report they are making healthier choices outside of the one-hour CATCH Healthy Habits lesson – eating more vegetables, reading labels and exercising!
- Since 2011, Oasis volunteers have contributed nearly 48,000 hours, valued at over $855,000.
Each Oasis CATCH Healthy Habits volunteer has planted a seed that will continue to grow for years to come. As children grown into teenagers, and eventually adults, they will continue to cultivate the messages you have planted in their young minds. Just last week a volunteer said a CATCH Healthy Habits student from two years ago saw her at the store. The student said to the volunteer, “you are from 'healthy habits' and you made the biggest fruit salad I have ever seen! It was so good!!”
Our sincerest thanks, from Oasis CATCH Healthy Habits staff across the country!
Our appreciation also to WellPoint Foundation, who funds the CATCH Healthy Habits program in 21 cities across 17 states.