From the Corps: Three-Peat for the Ginn Academy, A Year Overview

Posted 09/11/2017 | By HealthCorps

Megan Mukenge
Second Year Coordinator
Ginn Academy, Cleveland OH

Megan Mukenge 

Every year, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation unveils the list for America’s Healthiest School Award. This prestigious award celebrates schools across the country that are creating a healthier school environment. Schools that are named on this list receive either Bronze, Silver or Gold recognition.  This year, the Ginn Academy landed a spot on the 2017 America’s Healthiest Schools along with over 300 other schools nationwide. Ginn Academy is no stranger to this list as this is the school’s 3rd consecutive time achieving the Bronze level with the support of the HealthCorps Living Lab program. Efforts for the past two awards were also led by previous coordinators. Receiving this recognition has been such an honor for school. It was truly the perfect ending to my first year as their Program Coordinator.

To celebrate this amazing award, I wanted to highlight just a few of my favorite programming components from last year that helped us achieve this award.

The Garden Club

Last year, the Ginn Academy started its first Garden Club with collaboration from the Science Department. Students who participated in the Garden Club learned basic gardening skills while having the opportunity to learn about and grow fresh produce. Initially, the garden club started inside in the school’s indoor vivarium. However, towards the end of last school year, we were able to expand our garden outside to the school courtyard.

   

With the generous donation of over 18 yards of soil from Kurtz Bros. Inc., we were able to fill six garden beds, that the students helped build.  The produce that we have grown so far, such as tomatoes, green beans, peas, lettuce, kale, spinach, peppers, cucumber and radish have been distributed among staff members and students for them enjoy.

From Ginn Academy Garden to Dinner Table

 

“I had a heart and healthy salad compliments of the Ginn Academy garden. A HealthCorps and Science department collaboration yielded a robust crop of kale and cucumbers from our courtyard garden” – Mrs. Hazel Parker, Executive Assistant to the Director

Sports Nutrition Workshop

Here is an interesting fact about the Ginn Academy: It’s the the only public all-male academy in Ohio. It’s no surprise that the majority of the student body participate in a sports team. The Sports Nutrition Workshop serves to bridge the gap that exists among student-athletes at Ginn Academy when it comes to nutrition. During this ongoing workshop, student-athletes learn about the importance of establishing good eating habits and how it relates to athletic performance.  During their summer workout session, they met with Kylene Bogden, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist and America’s Functional Sports Nutrition Expert to discuss the importance of proper nutrition to optimize sports performance and prepare their own post-workout recovery meal.

Here is what Mr. Ted Ginn Sr., Founder and Executive Director of the Ginn Academy and head coach for the football team, had to say after the summer sports nutrition workshop:

“I thought the event that was provided by Ms. Mukenge for the football team was excellent. This is major for the kids because they are undernourished which affects their learning on and off the field. Ms. Mukenge is a major part of the education process that allows us to learn about nutrition at a higher level. She assists me in educating the kids about the importance of nutrition and it helps for the team to hear it from someone other than the coach. It gives me an opportunity to get a very beneficial message across to the student-athletes.”

The Health Fair

The annual school-wide health fair, which was held last Spring, aimed to educate students on topics around nutrition, physical activity, and mental resiliency through booth engagement. To name just a few of the topics presented this year, students learned about the benefits of whole grain, causes of childhood obesity, side effects of sugary beverage consumption, and how to choose healthy snacks. Community organizations who helped to make this event a success included Neon Health Services, Bike Cleveland, Metro Health, and the US Army.

 

As I prepare for this current school year, my main goal will be to continue to provide students the knowledge, tools and resources they need to create healthy habits. And most importantly, to continue to create a sustainable culture of health within the school environment so students can feel empowered to live a healthier lifestyle.

 

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