Better Grades – Better Health – More Graduates
Victoria’s Story @St. John Catholic School
The breakfast program at St. John includes fresh fruit, yogurt, bagels and cheese.
While at the breakfast program M.P.P. Daiene Vernile spoke to a young girl named Victoria. Her mother leaves for work early morning at 6 am in the morning. Victoria gets dropped off at the babysitters with other young children and sometimes does not get enough to eat. She was often going to school on an empty stomach but since she started participating in the Nutrition for Learning Breakfast Program she told me she is now having breakfast every day and her tummy doesn’t hurt anymore and she feels energized and ready to learn.
New Dawn School
Most often our students in our program and alternative programs are chronic non-attenders and have a potential underlying mental health challenge that is causing them to miss school. Most commonly the students that are involved in our New Dawn program have high levels of anxiety. Many of them have expressed that they did not like the atmosphere of a large secondary school setting. Typically, students are involved with the New Dawn program for one school year. Once here, we work on strategies to hopefully prepare them for rejoining the regular school system. They work on their high school credits using independent learning booklets with teacher assistance and fellow students on various subjects like art, gym and careers. We work together to deal with their anxiety and introduce them to the greater community with regular tours of different businesses and services in our area. We also take part in workshops and volunteer opportunities. We feel this exposure to the community is an important stepping stone to further prepare them for their future. Since we have a maximum of 12 students at a time per year, the students have a chance to create strong relationships with their peers. Often times this revolves around the table with food. Students often come to school and eat breakfast here, with each other. They are aware that our Nutrition for Learning program is safe for them to access and they all feel comfortable to do so.
Nutrition for Learning has allowed our program to feel like a second home, a safe place for our students and we are very grateful for that. Not only does the food they have access to help create these bonds but also it is an essential part of nutrition that ensures that they can stay focused at school.
Paola Ibanez – Child and Youth Worker – New Dawn – 519-742-5332
New Dawn is a Section 23 program, which means it is in a partnership with agencies who are funded by the Ministry Of Children and Youth Services to provide clinical support to young people who are experiencing issues requiring treatment and care.
Wilson Avenue Public School
All of Wilson’s 23 classrooms of Grades K-6 classes participate in the Nutrition for Learning bin program. By providing nutritious food to students we are able to enhance their ability to learn and focus on the various tasks they encounter throughout the day. Teachers find that if their students have had nutritious food, they are better able to focus and face the day with a positive mindset.
Everyone at Wilson is welcome to eat from the bins and we see students freely taking snacks as they wish/need throughout the day. Teachers are role models for our students and they partake in the program as well so that students see us together as partners in health and well-being. Before our 3 food group bin program was fully implemented, we had many students coming to the office asking for Support with their lunch. Now that our full program is in operation, we have no students coming to the office or to their teacher requiring nutrition support. This is wonderful evidence to us of the value and need fr our bin program.
Ou values of equity and inclusivity are enhanced with our bin program as it ensures that healthy food is accessible to all without stigma or judgement.
Our school services approximately 520 students. One of our strengths is our diversity. We have over 40 languages spoken in our building and we are a main landing centre in the Kitchener Waterloo Region for many new immigrants to our wonderful country. Our diversity makes us stronger.
Our partners at Nutrition for Learning have been so supportive and instrumental in working with our school on a daily basis from supporting us with funding, to ensuring that our orders are in place and delivered as we need it.
Without the support of donors, we would not be able to sustain the bin program that we have. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of students of Wilson Avenue Public School We are grateful for our community partners.
Elizabeth Martz – Principal