July 25, 2012 | | Leave a Comment
By: Ashley Brigham
Healthy Lifestyles 2012 (Click here to watch our end of the summer movie project!)
I have always pictured myself as a teacher and the idea of spending my life in a classroom was more than appealing to me. I loved everything about school growing up so why not spend the rest of my career in the classroom? Although this program allowed me to see past some of my misconceptions about teaching and ultimately decide against that career path it helped me to find a passion I never quite knew I had.
During my second week as a Freedom School intern, I sat next to a student at breakfast eating a honey bun and chocolate milk. This simple moment caused me such concern with the state of our public school lunch system and I just couldn’t shake it. One of the other interns and I took this opportunity to teach a Healthy Lifestyles class during afternoon activities because for the first time I truly had a passion about something. I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that strongly valued healthy lifestyle choices such as nutritious eating and exercise, and it broke my heart to see children making incredibly poor food choices simply because they had never been taught how to make good decisions when it came to their health. We taught about food groups, portion sizes, sugar intake, and smoking, and although we may not have drastically changed the way these children made food choices, there were definitely a few students that got the message, and to us that was a start.
We knew however, that teaching kids about nutrition was not enough. The parents were the key and if we could provide them with the important information, we had a better chance of seeing some change. We decided to make a video about healthy lifestyles, and showing this video at the program Finale will always be the greatest moment of my summer. The parents laughed and enjoyed the video, but you also got the sense that we had sparked some thought, and hopefully some change in this wonderful community.
So although I may have revised my plan for the future, I found a passion and eight weeks ago I never would have said this, but I have finally learned that having a passion is so much more valuable than having a “five-year plan.”