KTA is a youth empowerment program that uses a combination of group discussion and performance-based activities to teach students nutrition life skills and to advocate for change that improves their ability to make healthful lifestyle choices. Core learning standards are targeted to support teacher goals. The program end product is a film of each student group singing, acting, dancing, teaching, presenting and about nutrition and food justice issues.
Health, educational and economic disparities among families in Ward 7 stand out even more in the nation’s capital for the stark contrast with some of the most affluent, well educated people in the country just across the Anacostia River. Students at the Kelly Miller Middle School live in a neighborhood with more liquor stores than food stores and limited safe physical activities opportunities. In 2009, CVH began piloting a youth empowerment approach to nutrition education. By training student advocates, they could jointly advocate for the improvements necessary to provide them with an environment that supports healthy behavior.
Kids Take Action was integrated into a 6th grade language arts classroom for 6 weeks. Objectives for the lessons were to first support the core learning standards of language arts, and second to teach core concepts that would empower the students to both advocate for change and make choices that support health. The curriculum addressed policy, marketing, advertising, appeal letters, nutrition life skills, and the importance of physical activity. Lessons were divided between interactive learning and hands on small group activities. The program end product is a film of each student group singing, acting, teaching and dancing about food justice issues. As a result of them speaking out, the school was awarded funds for a school garden.
Another grant enabled CVH to expand Kids Take Action into a health class for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. We expanded the experiential part of the curriculum to include different forums for students to explore their advocacy voice; music and dance, news broadcasting, teaching, presentations, and meetings.