FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – School Health Facilitators Courtney Baumeister and Christine Bourgeois made a presentation to City Council regarding a new initiative to their schools called APPLE Schools, a growing international organization.
Baumeister School Health Facilitator for Upper Pine and Bourgeois School Health Facilitator for Duncan Cran Elementary School shared about the charitable foundation that focuses on promoting healthy living for students in schools.
Baumeister and Bourgeois, trained in nutrition, physical activity, and community development, by working with students, parents, school staff, and community members. Together an action plan is developed to meet the specific needs of their school. These school’s action plans include activities led by students and are designed to make healthy living fun and to engage. In turn, it makes the kids feel heard and belong by giving them a voice.
Currently, the program is running at Upper Pine Elementary School and Duncan Cran Elementary Schools. It takes two sponsors to do the breakfast program one day a week at Upper Pine, costing a dollar a day per student, and any leftovers go into the pantry for children who may need additional food subsidizing.
Through this approach called Comprehensive School Health, the APPLE Schools program can transform a community by educating empowering students in their school communities to choose to be healthy.
According to APPLE Schools, the research has shown that students in APPLE Schools have better nutrition habits, are more physically active, and are more likely to be a healthy weight than other students.
Students become better learners and score higher on academic tests. These results extend to activity outside of class which is a benefit to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, including many vulnerable communities with high
First Nations populations.
During the presentation is was shared, it takes two years to change the culture of the school.