When it comes to promoting healthy living and encouraging students to make health conscious food choices, North East Independent School District (NEISD) Board President Susan Galindo believes schools should look beyond what’s served in the cafeteria.
NEISD has long rallied for health and wellness policies that promote students’ well-being, but while students got the memo during school hours, the food at after-school programs fell back to high-calorie crowd pleasers.
As an advocate for good health in her own family, President Galindo felt health policies should not end at the sound of the school’s dismissal bell. “We were unintentionally sending an inconsistent message to our students and families, that it was important to eat healthy at school, but not at after-school events,” she said.
The message of healthy eating after school simply fell short. President Galindo admits, “I did not know how to build consensus, craft a message and collaborate with other entities to achieve success.”
But thanks to new insights into health initiatives and strategies learned while attending the NALEO Healthy Communities Institute, President Galindo was empowered to champion for new health policies in her district.
Galindo’s new vision would offer students the “right bites”.
The “Right Bites” program rolled out a new healthy menu at all district concession stands for students and spectators to enjoy while watching the game. Items on the menu now include: string cheese, chicken wraps, fruit cups, granola bars, yogurt and Vitamin Water.
All new healthy items pass San Antonio Metro Health District’s health requirements.
Former San Antonio Mayor and NALEO Member Julian Castro became a strong ally for “Right Bites” and joined district leaders for public service announcements to launch the revamped menu. “Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Students want choices and Right Bites gives it to them,” said Castro.
What was next on President Galindo’s health agenda? More open space.
Thanks again to training received at the NALEO Healthy Communities Institute, President Galindo was able to collaborate with the San Antonio City Council on the first SPARK Park in NEISD.
SPARK is a school park program that turns public elementary and middle school property into neighborhood parks to be enjoyed by the community outside of school hours. Camelot’s SPARK park was a designed by Camelot students and architecture students from the University of Texas-San Antonio.
President Galindo now beams about her ability to enact healthy change and said, “I would have never attempted these two projects [“Right Bights” and ‘SPARK Park”] without the training I received from NALEO [Educational Fund]!”