bethel kids

Top 4 things kids in Bethel want to be healthy



This summer, KC Healthy Kids held three I Am Here Youth Advocacy workshops for 35 middle school students at Bethel Neighborhood Center’s summer camp. I Am Here paired perfectly with the theme of this year’s camp “iCare.”

Students learned about healthy habits, set personal goals, assessed the policy and built environment of their neighborhood, and advocated for changes they want to see to local decision makers. They wrote to their teachers, principals, superintendents, and the Unified Government. Here are the top 4 things they asked for:

1. Healthy and Fresh School Lunches

It’s hard to stay healthy because the school food doesn’t taste good. So, I don’t eat it which doesn’t let me focus. This is important because you have to focus and if you don’t eat your stomach hurts and you can’t work. This could be fixed by the school providing better food and more fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Maria, 7th Grader

“During passing period the only food available are unhealthy snacks. The teachers selling candy bars, cookies, coffee etc., when we could be selling fruit cups, juice, fruit snacks, water etc. This is important because sometimes we need energy between classes and sugary snacks seem to get us more unhealthy energy, where we stop putting attention to class. This could be fixed by putting at least one teacher selling healthy food in between classes. Or opening the cafeteria for fruit.”

Irasema, 9th Grader

2. Access to Healthy Food

“Things that make being healthy hard are that there is good food that doesn’t make you fat and you want to eat it but you can’t. This is important because I do not want to be fat in the future. This could be fixed by upping the prices in fast food places that have junk food.”

Josue, 6th Grader

“Staying healthy is easy to teach, but hard for us to follow through. Healthy foods take more effort and it seems like everyone has to change their eating habits. This is important because I like eating food! This could be fixed by serving healthy foods in relation to our ethnic foods. Show us what brands are healthy or show us how to make food.”

Jaisel, 7th Grader

“Staying healthy is hard when there is no one there to help us do the right things. There are many fast food places around and we need more healthy places for us. This is important because if we don’t start being healthy there are more chances that people can get sick. There are mostly people who eat fast food because it is much cheaper and healthy food is more expensive. This could be fixed by making the fresh veggies for the grocery stores cheaper. Also, some kids can’t afford to be at a specific place to be active, so maybe make a place where kids can go for free to be active.”

Paw, 8th Grader

3. Community Safety

“It’s hard to be healthy because sometimes there is violence and I get scared to play outside. This is important because people are always inside and I barely see people outside. This could be fixed by adding a playground so all the kids could play safe.”

Cristian, 6th Grader

 4. Physical Activity During the School Day

“It’s hard to stay healthy when you have to sit all day without having any fun or exercise. This is important because being active makes you healthy and helps you pay attention more. This could be fixed by having recess two times in a week and having P.E. 3 times in a week.”

Pawsi, 7th Grader

At Central middle we don’t have recess and sometimes not even P.E. and we are mostly sitting down in class all day. This is important because it keeps us in shape and away from any kind of sickness and keeps us listening in class. This could be fixed by providing healthy breakfasts and lunches that are healthy and delicious.”

Vanessa, 7th Grader

“Being healthy is like a job. You have to watch what you’re eating. Encourage yourself to be more active and remind yourself to drink a gallon of water a day. This is important because students, especially in middle school and high school, spend their entire day sitting. That’s what makes students get bored and that makes them want to stop listening to their teacher who has been talking for 90 minutes. This could be fixed by bringing recess back or a time for middle/high schoolers to go outside and get fresh air. That’s what I do when I lose concentration from studying/sitting for over an hour.”

Dahi, 9th Grader



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