HealthCorps’ Healthy Cats
Funder: Walnut Board
The Healthy Cats Club is a part of the HealthCorps program at Sunnyside High School. What started as a health and wellness council has developed over the years into a sustainable cooking club. Student Judy Chhoeung is lead by Healthcorps Coordinator Kate Shelton, she has this to say, “This club really brought together students from all different “groups” who were all interested in health. Which I think is really awesome because together we create a mini community within a much larger one, and we’ve learned so much through this club.”
The Healthy Cats Club is also paired with ‘Fresh Fridays’ or Café O Yeas, these clubs, Judy believes have changed the way students view their health. Judy says a lot more students are drinking infused water instead of sweet tea and that’s just one example of positive change.
Healthy Cats started out as a Wellness Council with Sunnyside’s first Healthcorps Coordinator, Emily Grant. Overtime, fewer and fewer staff members came to meetings and the group developed into students-only. When Kate Shelton came to Sunnyside, she made the decision to run with a student-led group. Since then Healthy Cats has thrived into a popular club that runs monthly Café-O-Yeas, helps organize and put Health Fairs, and participated in the MLK Day of Service. Healthy Cats would also gather after school to have cooking lessons and healthy potlucks!
Kate soon realized that she need to make the club sustainable in order to secure its future.
That’s when Ms. Clarene White, a local chef and entrepreneur stepped in to help. Kate had brought her in to do a cooking demonstration for her senior students, and in doing so, Kate discovered that Ms. White was interested in starting a cooking and health club at Sunnyside.
Over the next few weeks, the future of Healthy Cats became clear: an after school club funded by the After School Program, focusing slightly more on cooking. While the Health Fair has been passed off to an academic pathway, the “new” Healthy Cats will still focus on nutrition, cooking, demonstrations at school, and volunteer work.
Best of all for Kate, Ms. White is currently a counseling graduate student at CSU Fresno and determined to continue Kate’s legacy of promoting mental health alongside nutrition, particularly in the therapeutic elements of cooking and giving back to the community.