Socorro schools spearhead community health initiatives

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As we begin the new year, many of us have resolved to make changes for better health.

Socorro schools are leading the way for improved health with last year’s changes. The school lunch program provides whole grain foods and more fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We have made changes progressively over the past few years, so most of the federal rules that went into effect July 2012 had already been implemented,” said Peggy Lopez, director of food services.

At Sarracino Middle School, physical education teacher Kyle McClinton concludes daily announcements with a simple stretch that all students and staff perform together then follows with an inspirational, thought-provoking quote to perk up minds and bodies. Sarracino principal Jennifer Molina was quoted at the end of last year as saying, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.”

Parkview Elementary physical education teacher Kristen Dow’s before school marathon-running program has been so popular that students asked to continue it at Zimmerly Elementary.

This is a positive example of student learning and initiative.

National “Bike to School Day” has been transformed by students into an ongoing event the first Wednesday of each month. This event started at Zimmerly and Cottonwood with Sarracino joining later in the semester. Speaking of student initiative — Zimmerly student Kenneth Everheart organized a group from his neighborhood to bike to school, demonstrating leadership for this health initiative.

Socorro High’s school-based health center is open again providing convenient, direct care under PMS for medical and behavior at health services by Socorro Mental Health. SHS Teen Health Center manager Savannah Moore is there daily to make appointments.

2013 starts with the “5 2 1 0 Challenge.” Although the official Healthy Kids New Mexico program is for third graders, the wellness leaders from each school are encouraging everyone to kick off your own health resolutions with daily eating of five or more servings of fruits or vegetables, watching two hours or less of TV/computer time, performing one hour of physical exercise and drinking zero-calorie liquid (water- H2O rules!).

Another exciting update is that we also have the support from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. One of the many resources offered by this group is a great easy to follow guidebook called “A Year of Living Well,” featuring 20 families who are creatively finding ways to live healthier lives. Anyone interested in this free booklet, should call Stephanie at (575) 838-7476.

Let’s challenge ourselves personally and as a community to be a healthier Socorro!