Change Keeps Coming In LA!Thu 28 Jul 2011
Story by Kim Gerber
Another School District Removes Flavored Milk!
Change. Those six letters can often feel frightening, unattainable, impossible. Alone, they don’t mean much, but as a complete word they have the potential to do amazing things: improve a child’s health, open their eyes to possibilities they didn’t even know existed, extend and enhance a life. But what can one mom to do with those six little letters? Turns out, pretty much anything she puts her mind to.
Last year, I decided it was time to put that word into effect at my children’s elementary school. It was time to generate support and ask for change. I began gathering parents, and focusing on healthy food choices. We began asking questions and learning more about the food our children were consuming at school and discovered some things that needed change and others we were happy to learn existed. The offering of chocolate milk containing high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient had to change but the discovery of a free fruit basket, available to all children during lunchtime was a plus and one we began promoting immediately.
Momentum was building and parents and kids were talking about healthy food choices. With a co-chair lined up, and approval from the principal, I had soon started the first Health & Wellness parent committee at our school. Now it was time to kick our efforts into high gear and request the changes we wanted from the district.
A meeting with the District’s Children’s Nutrition Director gained us her commitment to attempt to source locally grown, organic fruit for the fruit basket and the agreement to temporarily remove chocolate milk from our campus for one week so that our Health & Wellness committee could have a chance to get kids interested in regular white milk. This agreement spawned our “Milk Madness Week” for the fall which would consist of activities, incentives and assemblies encouraging the consumption of regular white milk to our students. Should we be able to prove that the children would both take AND consume the regular milk then the district agreed they would remove the chocolate milk indefinitely.Game on. We got to work planning assemblies, securingsponsors and promoting our efforts within the school.
There are moments in life, when it only takes asking for change to come, this time the change came early. Last week, I received wordthat the Las VirgenesSchool District will be removing flavored milk from all elementary schools. Yes, you read this correctly- remove all flavored milk! In addition, they will be working to provide organic, locally grown fruit for the upcoming year.
A huge “thank you” to the Las Virgenes School Distict.We as parents will now need to focus our efforts on supporting and promoting this change. We are dedicated to supporting the district’s generous efforts and will work to ensure that our children learn to enjoy both regular white milkand the healthier options available to them at school. Change is no longer six little letters strung together without hope. Change is our children’s chance at a healthier future.
About the author: Kim Gerber is a Los Angeles mom, children’s nutrition advocate and author of www.outoftheboxfood.com, a website dedicated to deconstructing processed kid food and offering fresh alternatives to families.
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