BestSelf4Kids: The Origin and Implementation
One For Health (OFH) is committed to helping children adopt a healthy lifestyle by providing innovative wellness programs and workshops that equip them with the knowledge and skills to develop and retain healthy habits. Food insecurity is a growing problem for children in America. In 2017, an estimated 12 million children in the U.S. lack consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
For the first time in U.S. history over half of public school students are from low income families and 3 out of 4 public school teachers report their students come to school hungry.
Food insecurity refers to lack of access to a sufficient quantity of healthy food and hunger is the resulting physical condition. According to Harvard School Breakfast Research Summary 2008, lack of healthy food impairs a child’s ability to learn and perform in school, children struggling with hunger are more susceptible to obesity and it’s health consequences, and teens who regularly face hunger are more likely to be suspended and have difficulty getting along with others.
Over the last three years, OFH has partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs who serve those at the greatest risk for food insecurity. OFH delivered several pilot nutrition and wellness programs, including a yoga component. During that time OFH discovered that 85% of the clubs' kids did not eat breakfast and sometimes lunch for a variety of reasons.
In the first quarter of 2019 OFH launched five four-week long "BestSelf4Kids" pilots in Boys and Girls Clubs in Salt Lake City, UT; Salem, NH; and Lawrence, MA funded by a grant from the Isagenix Corporation Legacy Foundation. In the first quarter, OFH provided 2166 exceptionally high quality, shelf-stable and easily portable nutrition daily to 498 participant children. This was alongside healthy eating education and cooking lessons, as well as increased mind and body wellness awareness through yoga practice.
Check out the video below to see BestSelf4Kids in action:
Here is some initial feedback we received from our B&GC partners in Spring 2019:
- When the kids learned about the difference between high fructose corn syrup and real sugar, and how to look at ingredients labels, it was their best class. Days after that, they were talking about it to other members, and asking about the sugar in the snack we provide daily. That information is going to stick with them for a long time. Terra Bueno, Director Murray Club
- It was great to give the kids the opportunity to do a new activity at the club. They really enjoyed the yoga class ... It gave them a space of calm and relaxation which doesn't happen often in traditional Club settings. Alexis Matthews, Director Capitol West Club
- It was great having the nutrition class at Capitol West! The kids were able to try new healthy foods that many of them had never heard of. Some of the foods they liked more than others, but it was great to give them the experience of trying new foods. Alexis Matthews, Director Capitol West Club
- It is very apparent that nutrition class is important to the club kids. The bars offered much needed nutrition support that many of these kids would not otherwise have on any given day. It was important to have that as they learned about healthy food and eating habits. I think they liked having their own option for feeding themselves when they get hungry, and they must feel at least a little proud about taking ownership of their health and bodies! The fresh food preparations helped the kids to appreciate the activity of taking good care of their bodies with great tasting and healthy food. During the oatmeal lesson, the kids ate every single berry and banana slice I had out, so I feel that most of them would eat these things if they were available. Deb Burton, Nutrition Instructor
- Yoga provided a place to unwind and explore themselves in a safe environment. It provided social and emotional awareness development along with learning about their bodies and how to take care of themselves from the inside and out while learning tools for emotional regulation. Marie Delaney, Yoga Instructor
We welcome your interest in bringing this program to your own location, club or organization. To start a conversation, please reach out to our executive in charge of program deployment and strategic alliances. We look forward to sharing more with you and your team.
Contact: Judith Libby Froehlich, MS
National Programs Director