120 Students Participate in Health Campaign

120 Students Participate in Health Campaign
By: Yasmeen Shelkah, Patch

Bremen High School District 228 participated in the national Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) student body national peer education program. The program teaches students to make healthy lifestyle choices in terms of diet, exercise and communication skills.

While FCCLA is a class offered at all District 228's schools, FCCLA teachers offered this campaign to students across the entire district and did not "require" anyone to join – even their own students. About 120 students across the district — Bremen High School, Tinley Park High School, Hillcrest High School, Oak Forest High School— recently participated in the national program, ending last week.

According to the FCCLA, "The FCCLA Student Body national peer education program helps young people learn to eat right, be fit, and make healthy choices. Its goals are to: help young people make informed, responsible decisions about their health, provide youth opportunities to teach others, and develop healthy lifestyles, as well as communication and leadership skills."

CCLA teachers Maggie O'Connor (Tinley Park High School), Tanya Mack (Bremen High School), Michelle Youngberg (Hillcrest High School), and Kristina Blair (Oak Forest High School), offered three virtual sessions for students to get involved in. Each session had its own theme and goal:

Oct. 28, The Healthy You - Empowering teens to make wise food and lifestyle choices: Participants focused on healthy breakfast options. FCCLA teachers put together culinary kits for students to make oats in a mug at home. Students picked up the materials before the virtual meeting at the school. During the meeting, students were able to complete the recipe, talk about alternatives, discuss the importance of breakfast, and diet in general.

Nov. 18, The Fit You - Empowering teens to take charge of their health and their level of fitness: Students participated in an at-home workout with FCCLA teachers.

Dec. 9, The Resilient You - Empowering teens to live in ways that build emotional health: Students and staff focused on emotional health and ways to practice mindfulness. For example, meditation.

O'Connor, FCCLA teacher at Tinley Park High School said, "FCCLA has a handful of peer education programs for students to participate in and we felt this one would be most beneficial for our students, especially with the world we are currently living in."

Students who participated in all three sessions were awarded a "Student Body" certification that can be added to their resume and/or career profile.

"As an individual who takes physical and mental health very seriously, I feel as if the FCCLA campaign was extremely beneficial. I thought it was a great idea to give other members at home the tools and initiative to strive for overall good health. The FCCLA staff gave easy ways to improve their students' health, which really showed the amount of care and passion for their own members," Josh Huiner, Student and FCCLA President at Oak Forest High School said.

The three days of 'A Better You' allowed for the beginning of simple routines to stay healthy. I personally am an extremely picky eater and find it hard to eat healthy at times. The most helpful thing I learned was the overnight oats recipe. A simple and tasteful breakfast packed with great nutritional value. This was a game changer to learn and to add to my diet. "

FCCLA offers national recognition to chapters that complete Student Body projects. This honor includes cash awards and special recognition at the National Leadership Conference, online, and in Teen Times magazine for the top chapters. Chapters apply online for recognition with the National Student Body Program Award Application.