Wow, what a morning! I am still smiling after volunteering at Career Day at Dunwoody Spring Elementary in Sandy Springs. Although I prepared a PPT since I could be talking to 4th-5th grades, i had no use for it. I got lucky; I got the little ones of ages 5 and 6. Their energy is contagious. I had 4 back-to-back sessions of 25 minutes each. I met around 80 kids. Yes, I took a 20 min nap when I got home to recover . Bless the hearts and minds of dedicated and caring teachers.
This was my first time presenting to elementary kids. I wasn’t sure how was going to go. My mindset was of having fun and making it fun. And focus on doing my best to show them that vegetables and fruits, water, sleep, exercise, fun, and relaxing/breathing give them more energy to play, smarts, strength, and help them feel great.
WOW, it is hard to describe how it felt and still feel now because those kids were special. We exercised together–they LOVED doing high knees, they answered all kinds of questions about foods, sleep, stress (why/when/how get nervous), and more. They learned how to take deep breathes to reduce anxiety, they learned that exercise, fun, and energy go together and it is for life. Why we need muscles. I brought them strawberries, carrots, and walnuts to eat/try. They loved it and asked for repeats. We talked about importance of eat the rainbow, the go-slow-no foods.
By asking them simple questions, I learned many of those adorable kids have digestive problems (aren’t pooping daily and have stomach aches, every day, more than half wake up tired, about 40-50% are not moving as much, many have stomach aches after eating. About 5 out of 80 I met, were very educated on sugar and what it does. Many of them left with homework of asking mom to buy vegetables and fruits of different colors, go to bed earlier so they wake up more rested, drink more water, eat the fruit instead of juice.
The best part was at the end though– felt so rewarded and made me believe I planted seeds today. So, I decided to stop by at the cafeteria before heading back home. ‘My kids’ were there, They waved, called, gave me high 5s, hugged me, and showed me the colors they were eating, the vegetables and fruits they had picked up. A few of them handed their packaged foods and asked me if they were healthy. WOW! Moments like these help me to hang on and keep going.
My mission is to plant seeds of health and change the life/health/lifestyle of one person at a time. Helping kids is like helping a tree to grow stronger and healthier. Cannot be more impactful than that. If I do change the life of one of them, I’ll have done a good job. And although I might never know whether that happens, I just need to keep following my passion and doing my best.
Lastly, I’d like to thank my friend Maria Angelova for bringing this opportunity to my attention–short notice still worked!
Thanks to the teachers and their assistances of each classroom at DSE. And thanks Denise Haltrecht–Assistant Principal @ DSE for allowing me participate and educate kids on healthy living.