6 Things KCMO kids want to make their communities healthier

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The Brush Creek Community Center’s Summer Enrichment Camp is a great opportunity for kids to make friends, play sports and games, enjoy arts and crafts and go on fun field trips! Special guests are invited to speak to the campers as they work on six essential character skills: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. Michelle Dake 300px

I was honored to be one of those guests and to work with 40 campers ages 6-13 to help them become Champions for Health with our I Am Here program. Through our activities, students learned:

  1. What it means to have healthy habits and how to set personal goals.
  2. How to take a critical look at the ways policy and the built environment promote or prevent healthy habits.
  3. How to speak out for healthy kids and advocate for changes they want to see to local decision makers.

Campers wrote to their teachers, principals, superintendents, their own parents and Mayor Sly James. Here are just a few of the positive changes they want to make in their community:

1. Access to Healthy Food

“I am a 5th grader at Laurel Hills Elementary. It’s hard to be healthy because it’s easy to buy junk food to fix for my lunch for camp and school. So I really only use junk food for packing lunch! This is important because healthy food allows you to live longer and have a healthy lifestyle. This could be fixed by having less junk food in stores and healthy food being sold at other places. Thank you for helping me make my neighborhood a healthy place to live.” —Kaylee

“I am an 8th grader at Midland Adventist Academy. It’s hard to be healthy because junk food has all these calories and fats. It makes the food taste better event though it is unhealthy. This is important because some people could get way too addicted to the food that could get an eating disorder or get fat and be unhealthy. And, they could have trouble trying to exercise. This could be fixed by putting less fat and calories in the food and trying to encourage people to exercise.” —Taylor

2. Bike Lanes

“I am an 8th grader. I go to KIPP Endeavor Academy. It’s hard to be healthy because there are no bike lanes or trees on the way to school or the park. This is important because we need to be active so we can live longer. This could be fixed by making more bike lanes and more trees for the park your guys are making. Thank you for helping me make my neighborhood a healthy place to live.” —Darnell

“I am a 5th grader at Meadow Lane Elementary in Lee’s Summit. We need to put more bike lanes around the school and around the neighborhood and maybe re-do the streets so the streets will not look like a lot of cars and trucks and slimy things have been on the streets a lot. This is important because kids around our neighborhood ride bikes and ride bikes to school. And we need to have bike lanes all around Lee’s Summit for the bike rides. This could be fixed by putting bike lanes around the neighborhood and it will help the kids around the neighborhood and around the school too. Please fix the problem in the neighborhood. Thank you!” —Tyrese

3. Physical Activity at School

“I am a 7th grader. I go to Ewing Marion Kauffman. At school we don’t get much activity time or outside time. This is important because it gives you energy to work, focus on work and be able to have fund and be active. This could be fixed by being more aware of students’ progress and knowing when to give them breaks and when to work. Thank you for helping me make my neighborhood a healthy place to live.” —Dasia

“I am a 5th grader at Laurel Hills Elementary. At school we should get more physical activity time so we can focus. Like more recess or just dance, or longer PE classes. This is important because if you don’t eat healthy then you are going to be fat. And if you don’t stay active then you won’t have muscles or a strong body and you won’t focus as much in school if you are healthy and active. This could be fixed by getting longer recess or PE classes or just doing exercise in the classroom when the teacher feels like we are not focusing no more. Now we all have to put our heads down, but we’re not sleepy, just not focusing.” —Asia

4. Healthy Food Options at School

“I am a 4th grader at Johnson Elementary. It’s hard to be healthy because Johnson always has junk food and only a little healthy food. This is important because we only get a little bit of healthy food and we get a lot of junk food. And, for a punishment we lose recess. This could be fixed by serving a little bit of junk food and a lot of healthy foods. And by not taking away recess as a punishment. Thank you for helping me make my neighborhood a healthy place to live.” —Alise

I am an 8th grader. I go to Center Middle School. Being healthy is hard because some people have a hard time getting through life and especially with fast food, video games and not helping the economy. This is important because healthy eating can help with better school education, active living and healthy living. This could be fixed by schools buying healthy and tasty food that the kids will eat for lunch.” —Jaylon

5. Safe Places to Play

“I am a 7th grader at Center Middle School. Mostly at my old school every time we went out for recess there would be shootings that would disturb it and the gym would be occupied. Also, my neighborhood was a bad environment. This is important because if you have good health it will help you so much in the future. Also, if you aren’t active you can become lazy and become very big. This could be fixed by securing the playground and making sure we are safe, cleaning up the neighborhood graffiti ETC.” —Jada

6. Safe Streets

“I am a 6th grader at Raytown Central Middle School. It’s hard being healthy because not a lot of people are walking to school. This is important because we need to gain energy before going to school. This could be fixed by participating in National Walk to School Day, building bike lanes and we need crossing guards. Thank you for helping me make my neighborhood a healthy place to live.” —Denzel

By Michelle Dake, youth advocacy coordinator

Letter to Principal

 

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