Youth Leaders to Educate Peers and Legislators, Advocating for Modernizing Home Economics
March 30, 2015 – SAN FRANCISCO — Thirteen students from the Mt Diablo High School Sustainable Hospitality program will travel to Washington, D.C. April 6 to educate their peers and legislators on how to live healthier lives, using their curriculum called “Pathways to Healthy Living.” The Vice Mayor of Concord, Laura Hoffmeister, will be accompanying the students along with other community leaders and educators.
“These young leaders are setting an example for the nation,” says Cindy Gershen, Chef and Teacher at Mt Diablo High School, Concord, where she has created a culinary program that addresses childhood obesity, poor nutrition, and its impact on our children. “As the capstone project for these seniors, they will share their innovative curriculum with their peers at Ballou High School in Washington, D.C. This curriculum will help them jump start their new culinary program, designed to change lives through better diet and health outcomes.” Mayor Tim Grayson states, “The Mt. Diablo High School students model food justice through mentoring and learning by doing. It is impressive to see how the students are applying what they have learned over 3 years and demonstrating how youth can overcome the challenges of unhealthy eating.”
The Mt. Diablo High School students have developed interactive activities for their peers, including a theatrical production called “Eat and Learn” that includes Sugar Smart Training: The 6 Essential Nutrients, Safety and Sanitation and Sugar Smart & Label Reading. Their creative teaching methods have been applied successfully with 200 elementary school age students and 300 high school freshmen. The Mt. Diablo High School students are taking their curriculum to Capitol Hill and plan to lobby for a new type of “Twenty-First Century Home Economics” that will enable young people to benefit from the current science and research, learn the facts on healthy eating, and incorporate preventative health into their lives.
The Mt. Diablo High School students believe better nutrition, education and exercise are the keys to a living healthier lives and want their curriculum and methodology to become a part of National Health and Nutrition Policy. While in Washington, the students will teach their peers at Ballou High School and meet with legislators and Department of Agriculture staff on Capitol Hill. According to student leader, Celeste Rios, “We intend to advocate for modernizing Home Economics based on sound nutritional science and disease prevention curriculum. In Washington, D.C., we will raise awareness about the importance of changing the food we eat and for STEM education that includes 21st Century Home Economics.”
In addition to the Vice Mayor of Concord and Chef/Teacher Cindy Gershen, chaperones will include Anna Fisher, Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Mount Diablo Unified School District, Wolfram Alderson, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, Chuck Carpenter, Vice-Chair of the Workforce Development Board and Pamela Singh, Executive Director of Wellness City Challenge.
“Community-wide support has made it possible for these programs to occur and we are pleased that partners such as the Hofmann Family Foundation and Wardrobe for Opportunity have chosen to support this trip to Washington, not only for the students but for all communities seeking to promote healthy living,” stated Pamela Singh, Executive Director of Wellness City Challenge.
The City of Concord has also played an integral role in promoting healthy lifestyles as co-founders of the Annual Contra Costa County Mayors’ Healthy Cook-off hosted by Wellness City Challenge. “They have accepted the challenge,” said Singh.