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April 13, 2012 > Healthy Kids Festival at Tennyson High

Healthy Kids Festival at Tennyson High

Submitted By Office of Alameda County Superintendent of Schools
Photos By Courtesy of Project EAT

Hundreds of students, families and community members will gather for a school/community health festival at Tennyson High School in Hayward on Friday, April 13, to support State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson's Team California for Healthy Kids Campaign. The free community event, which Tennyson students named "HEALTHstival: Making a Difference in Our Community," will share information on how to stay fit and healthy through good nutrition and exercise and will feature hands-on activities, presentations and a tour of "The Farm," Tennyson High's school/community garden.

The event celebrates partnerships among the Alameda County Office of Education's Project EAT, Hayward Unified School District and the City of Hayward. Also sponsoring the festival are California Action for Healthy Kids and Torlakson's Team California for Healthy Kids.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson introduced his Team California for Healthy Kids initiative in October 2011. The goals of the initiative are to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, increase physical activity every day, and increase access to safe drinking water. "The students at Tennyson High School are setting a wonderful example for everyone, because our research shows well-nourished and active kids perform better in school," said Torlakson.

"We are very proud of our collaborative work at Tennyson," said Sheila Jordan, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools. "We invite the community to celebrate the success of our student leaders and join us for an excellent day of learning, healthy activity and growth."

Other local organizations and student leaders at Tennyson High will host booths providing information on healthy activities, recipes, and great ideas on how to include more physical activity and access to fruits and vegetables for a healthier lifestyle.

The festival will also give community residents an opportunity to see up close the results of years of work by the county superintendent's Project EAT staff and the student leaders that tend "The Farm," a one-acre garden at Tennyson High. "The Farm" is the crown jewel of Project EAT's approach to promote healthy food practices, beginning with individuals and spreading to entire classrooms, schools and the surrounding community. Youth interns (dubbed "ProFRESHinals") tend the garden, explore food systems, and receive training in sustainable urban garden management. Food grown by the students is donated to soup kitchens, used in cooking lessons, and taken home to be shared with families.

Project EAT (Educate, Act, Thrive) works with students, teachers and administrators to inform and educate students, support their natural enthusiasm and prompt positive change in their nutrition habits. Chris Boynton, Project EAT director, says she has seen this strategy work successfully with students from elementary through high school.

Boynton cited the example of second graders who worked successfully to change the lunch menu to include more healthful options. They polled their peers using large posters in the hallway that read "Are you tired of eating pizza? Sign here," which prompted a sit-down meeting with the principal and the district food service director. A salad bar selection is now available at the school. Similar success stories are reported at other school sites, confirming that the Project EAT approach of blending action-research and service learning does work.

Friday, Apr 13
2:30 p.m.
Tennyson High School
27035 Whitman Street, Hayward
(510) 670-7754
Free community event

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