Summer break is almost over and the Thrive Instructors are making plans for another great year of helping Fort Dodge area youths. Thrive is part of Trinity's Healthy Living Department. Our mission is to educate, support and empower students to enhance their health and well-being through responsible lifestyle choices. Thrive hopes to accomplish this by going into classrooms in the Fort Dodge Community School District as well as St. Edmond Catholic Schools. Thrive staff increase the student's awareness of how lifestyle choices impact their health and the health of their families. This increased awareness helps students make healthy eating and physical activities part of their everyday lives. The instructors go into the classrooms eight times throughout the year and talk about eating a wide variety of healthy foods, the benefits that these foods have on our bodies and how eating the right amount and varieties of foods can decrease chances of becoming obese or developing a chronic disease. Not only is healthy eating discussed but also the need for daily activity and the benefits that result from daily activity.
Classroom education is not the only step Thrive takes in making a difference for our youths. Thrive puts on lunchroom challenges where they spotlight a particular food group in order to introduce new foods and encourage kids to try and experience other healthy food options. Thrive also has a walking program called Thrive Strides in the hopes of increasing physical activity. Thrive encourages students to walk the designated path and offers incentives for those that participate. Thrive partners with the Fort Dodge Community Recreation Center to offer swim lessons free of charge to students. Lessons are offered to students in grades three through six. Swimming lessons teach students a life skill, safety in the water and encourages students to use swimming as a form of exercise and recreation.
One of the most beneficial things that Thrive does is free health screens for all students kindergarten through eighth grade in the Fort Dodge Community School District. The health screens help parents to address the health needs of their child that they may not be aware of. Thrive can then offer additional education or support for those students at risk.
Thrive has many ways for children to participate in becoming healthy individuals. As a reward they are given opportunities to attend "little Dodger events" where they are given a free pass to a sporting event and are able to demonstrate an activity in front of the crowd. Kids love this fun way to expose them to the many modes that physical activity can be enjoyed in the Fort Dodge Community School District.
Since Thrive began in 2007 its representatives have visited more than 130 classrooms and been able to talk with more than 2,500 students. Thrive has also given free swimming lessons to more than 400 kids. Giving the students the information they need in order to grow and develop into healthy adults is what Thrive is all about. However, we all know that kids need great role models at home as well. The information given to the students is a great help in the right direction. But without family reinforcement of the topics discussed in class, as well as, having the right food options at home, it will be near impossible for them to make the right choices. We encourage parents to talk with their kids about the importance of making healthy food choices and provide them with the necessary foods to make the right choice.
For those needing assistance in weight management or weight maintenance Trinity's Healthy Living Department offers a program called Healthy Weight 4 Life. The program allows participants' access to dietitians who can help them with all their dietary concerns. There are both group and individual programs lasting from eight weeks up to six months. For more information or to schedule an appointment you can call 574-6350.
If you would like to contact Thrive for more information about any of their programs you may contact Sarah Marsh, coordinator for the Diabetes Center and Youth Wellness at 574-6260 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Trinity's Healthy Living Department please contact Teresa Newman, manager, Trinity Healthy Living/Diabetes Center, at 574-6187 or by email at email@example.com.
Mat Hanson is a youth wellness educator at Trinity Regional Medical Center.