Last week Secretary Duncan joined First Lady Michelle Obama on a phone call to congratulate schools that have started Let’s Move! programs and to encourage other schools to do the same. This was a check-in after one year of the initiative.
ED has done its part to support the effort by participating in commemorative events across the country. From joining kids in a giant Kansas City conga line to teaching students to make fruit and veggie smoothies in Keene, NH, ED’s regional communications and outreach staff worked with HHS and USDA counterparts to highlight progress towards healthy lifestyles at nationwide events in February. They helped to identify great school-based fitness and nutrition programs to showcase in their regions and were part of joint federal teams to generate strong community participation for those activities aimed at supporting the First Lady’s campaign that combats childhood obesity.
Regional staff members were active participants at 9 of the Let’s Move! events. Their contributions were diverse. The Philadelphia office discussed the vital link between healthy habits and academic achievement and later helped at the Bethlehem, PA, Broughal Middle School celebration. The Denver office participated in the Commerce City, CO, family fair. At events respectively in Keene, NH, and Grand Prairie, TX, the Boston and Dallas offices encouraged students to try celebrity chefs’ nutritious culinary treats at home. The Kansas City office attended several local activities, including an opportunity to rock-n-roll alongside Ingles Elementary School students. Chicago office staff performed stretches led by “Benny the Bull,” the Chicago Bulls’ mascot, with students of Chicago’s Namaste Charter School. And New York helped guide families to diverse exhibits aimed at inspiring healthy food and fitness choices at New York City’s Harlem Children’s Zone — the inspiration for ED’s Promise Neighborhoods program.
The Atlanta office joined the First Lady at Atlanta Public Schools’ Burgess-Peterson Academy, where Mrs. Obama handed-out fresh blueberries to excited students and teachers, and toured the organic garden.
“It’s a conversation about what our kids eat and how active they are,” Mrs. Obama later told parents and community leaders at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, near Atlanta. She said that it’s “about how they feel about themselves, and about what that means — not just their physical and emotional health, but for their success in school and in life.”
Julie Ewart is the Senior Public Affairs Specialist in the Chicago Regional Office. She is the mother of three school-aged children.