YOUTH GRASP NUTRITION AND FITNESS THROUGH HANDS ON LEARNING
Apples! Salad! Pizza! Tacos! These foods were the overwhelming winners of the icebreaker game where seventeen 6th grade students shouted out their favorite meals, fruits, and vegetables. On October 6th, the new Wellness 4 Success (W4S) program was launched at Francis Scott Key (FSK) Middle School in Silver Spring.
Excited and eager to learn more about this special, invitation-only program, the students played interactive group games, challenged themselves with fun science experiments, and toured the courtyard garden that they would become responsible for maintaining.
Wellness 4 Success is a collaboration between non-profit organizations YMCA YFS, Big Learning, and Montgomery Victory Gardens funded by the Jim & Carol Trawick Foundation. Students meet after school three days a week. On Wednesdays, they receive guidance and support for school homework assignments, while Tuesdays and Thursdays are hands-on science, gardening, and physical and mental fitness activities.
Participants are selected by school counselors based on academic achievement. School staff hope this program will improve students’ physical-fitness, social-emotional skills, and academic performance. Students help plant, maintain, and harvest from a year-round garden, learn the science behind food and nutrition, and increase their awareness of physical fitness in their daily lives. The program also includes special trips such as visiting a local urban garden, rock climbing at Carderock, and spending an afternoon in the woods at YMCA Camp Letts keep the students motivated and engaged in the program.