KTA is a youth empowerment program that uses a combination of group discussion and performace-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 to support teacher goals. The programs end product is a film of each student group singling, acting, dancing, teaching, and presenting 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.
The primary goal of the program is to improve access to healthier foods and safe physical activity opportunities that support behaviors conductive to disease prevention and healthy weight for the at-risk, urban family.
- This school-based program engages middle school children in advocating for a healthier community. It is targeted at children in underseved, high-risk neighborhoods with limited access to healthy food and and safe physical activity opportunities.
- Intervention addresses variables in personal, social, environmental and policy domains that affect the children's ability to adapt healthier lifestyle choices.
- Coordination supports change in infrastructure, involves key stakeholders in the school, family, and community.
- CVH supports teachers, through integrating health and nutrition lessons into the learning standards for math, language arts, science, and social studies.
- In 2011, the program was extended beyond the students, to include teachers and their families.
- Kelly Miller 6th, 7th, and 8th graders completed a 1-month program and demonstrated improved leadership, collaboration, creativity, health knowledge, and social marketing concepts.
- Students were taught the importance of understanding and caring about their own nutrition and physical activity.
- Faculty and staff have the opportunity to participate in health challenges, cooking classes, and other health related forums throughout the year, like free health screenings and yoga classes.
- Students have the opportunity to help with the school garden or work-out in the weight room during the after school program on Thursdays.
- Kelly Miller is one to two schools in DC to be recognized as a HealthierUS School in October 2010, this award is being promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama's Lets Move Campaign.
- Kelly Miller is the only middle school in DC to receive meals made from scratch by DC Central Kitchen as part of the Healthy Schools Act implementation program fall 2010.
- 1 of 6 applicants awarded OSSE/General Mills/United Way grant for the implementation of a professional development program for teachers and to implement a school garden in 2010-2011.