Families learn about health at after-school night
POLSON – About 300 people recently filled Linderman Elementary School to learn about staying healthy and share a nutritious meal.
The families attended the first fall health and wellness resource night for elementary students from Polson schools.
Each student was given a “passport” at the beginning of the event, listing each of the activities available. Attendees chose from 15 available stations. If students attended a majority of the stations, their names were entered into a drawing.
“We wanted to have a bunch of different stations focusing on different resources in the community that people might not be aware of,” said Elayna Shapiro, member of the Polson School District Health and Wellness Committee, which facilitated the event.
The Health and Wellness Committee collaborated with the Family Partnership Committee to put the event together. The event was intended for students in kindergarten through fourth grade and their families. Classes from Linderman and Cherry Valley elementary schools made art displays providing information on health topics that attendees viewed at the event.
At the resource night, students had their eyesight assessed. They could have their heart rate checked.
Shapiro said the event didn’t just focus on identifying health and wellness problems students might have. The resources provided helped families and students to build healthy habits that can improve wellness for the rest of their lives.
Families could learn about hands-only CPR from a representative from St. Joseph Medical Center. Students practiced on human body dummies to learn how to save a life with CPR.
Lake County Public Health provided information on the risks associated with vaping and smoking. Shapiro said vaping is a health risk for young people.
Families learned about how and why to limit the amount of time students spend taking in entertainment from screens like phones, televisions and computers. St. Luke’s registered dietician Jenny Robey provided information on how families can create healthy eating habits. Those who attended played games, exercised and learned about the amount of sugar in common drinks. Families also enjoyed a meal of spaghetti, garlic bread, salad and black bean brownies.
Shapiro said the event allowed parents to take time to explore the wellness resources available to them while their children were occupied with an activity. “Each station had something for the kids to do and gave families some time to learn,” Shapiro said.
The event also helped students and families build relationships with the wellness resources available to them. “Meeting people face-to-face and having in-person interactions can be very powerful,” Shapiro said.
According to Shapiro, staff from the high school and middle school have told the wellness committee their students would benefit from a similar event. The committee will explore having a health event for older students within the next year.
“We wanted this to be a place for people to come learn, have fun and take time to think,” Shapiro said. “They could find out if there are resources that can be utilized to make their lives a little better.”