California Endowment Grant Supports Chavistas Work On Wellness Curriculum
Thanks to a $25,000 grant from the California Endowment Building Healthy Communities initiative, the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs have built a five-part curriculum to help middle school students learn about healthy food choices. The San Diego-based Chavez Clubs provide after-school leadership development training based on the values of Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement. With the California Endowment grant, club members or "Chavistas" in 30 inner-city schools worked together to learn about the health impacts of sugary foods and then developed a curriculum that can be used to teach other students the benefits of a healthy diet.
Chavistas in our elementary and middle school clubs have been working in their club meetings during this school year to learn about how excessive sugar in their diets from snack foods and sugary drinks can cause diabetes and obesity. They worked together in group discussions to compete worksheets about their own diets and discussed the challenges they faced in their own families to eat healthy foods. They also linked their discussions to the 10 Values of Cesar Chavez that are at the core of all Chavez Club activities.
From this learning, self evaluation and group discussions, the clubs have developed the following five-part wellness curriculum that will lead other students through an exploration of healthy eating choices and community action.
- Power of Choice. The first part of the curriculum is called the Power of Choice, which involves students exploring what is in their diet, learning how sugar content impacts overall health and how they have the power of choice to select healthy foods.
- Information. After learning about healthy foods and the power of choice, students move on to more learning as they discuss how food and snack advertising and food availability can influence the food choices of children and their families. To make learning fun, the Chavistas helped to develop a Jeopardy game focused on questions about healthy diets and food choices.
- Discussion. Students use their club meetings to have group discussions about how their families, communities, sports and TV stars and their elected representatives could do more to promote healthy diets for children.
- Plan of Action. In this phase, students begin to discuss how they can take action to support healthy diets in their school and community. Club members discuss actions that they could take to teach others and promote healthy diets. Actions they have discussed include setting up information tables at their school, using social media to get the word out about negative impacts of sugary foods and scheduling visits with their elected representatives.
- Club or Class Assignments. After the clubs discuss and agree on actions, they then make assignments that allow all club members to participate. Each assignment includes having Chavistas report back to their club on what they did and wrap-up discussions about what impacts they felt they had on teaching others about this important issue.
Through this California Endowment grant, our Chavistas have proven that students can work together to learn about ways they can lead healthier lives and impact other students and their community with the power of choice. During the next school year, Chavista Club leaders will be presenting their wellness curriculum to their school principals asking that it be incorporated into regular class time instruction in their schools so that their fellow students can learn about the positive benefits of healthy diets. Club leaders will also be continuing their social action outreach by meeting with their elected representatives to ask them to support healthy child and healthy diet policies in their community.
Thank you again California Endowment for supporting this impactful, life changing project.