WC Teachers Celebrated For CATCH Efforts
Story and photos by Ken DeLaat
The Community Health folks from Spectrum Gerber chose Valentine’s Day to show a little love to the staff at White Cloud Elementary.
On Tuesday when teachers filed into the library for what they thought was to be a staff meeting they were treated to a surprise. A decorative setting, some well chosen words of praise and a catered dinner from the culinary kitchen of Camp Newaygo.
This celebration of appreciation was the result of...
...the efforts put forth by the White Cloud folks in their partnership with Spectrum Health in introducing the CATCH program to their students.
For over 25 years CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) has been an effective tool in the challenges faced in reducing childhood obesity. Beginning this school year a local partnership has brought the curriculum to the elementary schools at Hesperia and White Cloud.
“It is a cost effective way to curb childhood obesity through education,” said Josh Gustafson Director of Community Health.
“The staff, many of whom were certified through a training held last summer, has been creative in their approach and they have really put energy into the program,” said Jenna Zeerip, community health specialist.
The event brought some definite rays of sunshine to the end of a school day for the educators who helped themselves to a sumptuous spread.
Included in the efforts brought to Kindergarten 2nd and 4th grade students is a marathon run where kids log distances set up by gym instructor Doug Weaver and compile them all year to try to equal the distance of anything from a 5K race to a marathon. A wall inside their first floor hallway is filled with paper shoes with the names of the many participants and charts their distance as they progress.
The entire school seems to have bought into the quest for better health with staff and kids alike putting their goals for fitness on the “CATCH Wall” located near the main office.
“The kids love it,” said 2nd grade instructor Dody Miller who is a strong supporter of the program. “My kids have become label readers. They look for the sugars and fat content. They know what to look for and what it means.
“It’s easy to see the impact this program has made on our kids. They’re eating healthier and exercising, and even trying new foods.”
John Rosenberg who also went through the training last summer has the food service on board as well with a program that has the students trying a new fruit or vegetable each month. With everything from brussel sprouts to fresh pears on the menu nearly all students have been willing to give the new options a try.
When asked if it seems a cultural change has occurred Ms. Miller wholeheartedly agreed.
“Definitely. All you have to do is look around to see the difference.
“It’s been fantastic”
When Ms. Zeerip presented principal Lorie Watson with a plaque recognizing the efforts of the school and her leadership in helping to make the CATCH program the lifestyle altering success it has become Ms. Watson responded by shifting the praise to her staff.
“You are the ones who make this happen. You are truly an amazing team and now,” she said pointing toward the Community Health folks who planned and put on the V-Day party, “they’re part of our team too.”