Child health initiatives result in local awards

Six out of 10 of the Health School Communities Award winners are from Central Alberta.

Six out of 10 of the Health School Communities Award winners are from Central Alberta.

The awards are given out by the Alberta Health and Wellness as a way to recognize individuals and school communities that work to improve the health of children.

The Red Deer Public School District’s board of trustees has been recognized for creating a policy that promotes healthy eating and sets standards for the sale of food and drinks in the district. The policy came about in consultation with parents, teachers, students and community members in a town hall meeting in 2007.

Poplar Ridge School in Red Deer was honoured for providing healthy snacks, a healthy hot lunch program and for Club Moo — which gives students milk, not pop, to drink. A friendship garden was created at the school to give students experiencing a loss a quiet place to go and students sign a bully prevention oath. The school includes seniors and local charities in projects to help develop a healthier school community.

École Our Lady of the Rosary School in Sylvan Lake was chosen for an award for its milk program, healthy lunches provided by parents and for having no vending machines. With the help of local seniors, students grow fruits and vegetables at the school and share their harvest with the community.

A project in Olds, called Creating Sustainable Active Leadership Project, was given the award for increasing student participation in physical activity. The project is a collaboration of Olds College, Chinook’s Edge School Division, Alberta Health Services, the Community Learning Campus and Town of Olds. Grade six to 12 students in six schools in the Chinook’s Edge School Division have increased participation in physical activity days by 95 per cent and increased involvement in intramural programs by 90 per cent.

Wanda Christensen, assistant superintendent of student services at Wolf Creek School Division, was honoured for strengthening the links between health and student success for schools in her division. With the support of the Alberta Healthy School Community Wellness Fund, she helped create health champions at 28 schools to offer for professional development opportunities and gave in-school time to implement the project.

Karie Ackerman, a parent at Ponoka Elementary School, established the Ponoka Elementary School — Growing Healthy Albertans project, with the help of the Alberta Healthy School Community Wellness Fund. The project allows children to have nutritious snacks and encourages daily physical activity.

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