Why I Do What I Do

April 2nd, 2013 by Live Well Omaha Kids

This blog is by Kelly Bouxsein, NAP SACC Coordinator

This is the first activity new child care leadership teams complete at their first workshop of the NAP SACC Learning Collaborative. Each time, I hear similar themes like “love”, “help”, and “growing and learning” that show the true dedication and passion these caregivers hold for their work and the children in their care. I like this activity because it shows us that regardless of our backgrounds, resources, and expertise, everyone is coming with the same motivation to provide the best start to a healthy life for children in our community. This is the group that I have the privilege to work with and well, it’s time for me to share my “Why I Do What I Do!”

A year ago (how fast time flies!) I had the exciting opportunity to join the Live Well Omaha Kids team as the Child Care Active Living Policy Coordinator. I am proud to have worked with this team and our community partners to create and launch the NAP SACC Learning Collaborative (quick refresher: NAP SACC stands for Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment in Child Care). In the Learning Collaborative, leadership teams from child care centers come together for interactional and educational workshops to learn the best ways to promote healthy eating and physical activity for their children, staff and families. The teams then work to write goals, set a plan, and implement healthy policy change within their centers. Within just a few months it is amazing to see the changes these providers make that will have lasting positive impacts on the health of their children.

Here are three (of many) reasons why this work is so rewarding:

  1. It’s Children. While writing this I realized that in some way, shape, or form just about every job I’ve had has involved children. This means the work is often fun (think games like duck duck goose and fun snack ideas) but more importantly worthwhile; what work could be more valuable than investing in the future of our children? Unfortunately, when it comes to our culture around food and activity – we are not doing our best. Although many, many people are working passionately to reverse the scary trends in childhood obesity, we continue to have children with unhealthy weights and more importantly the associated health risks and issues. It is unacceptable that we have 5 and 10 year olds with risk factors for heart disease due to their weight. We can do better (see #2)!
  2. It’s Preventable. Childhood obesity is such an important public health issue because it impacts every corner of our Country with dangerous implications for our health. Fortunately, we can prevent obesity and in large part, we have the tools and knowledge to do it (and lots of options at that!). I am honored to play a small role in bringing this knowledge to life and placing it in the hands of the people who are charged with the future of our children. [Cue Whitney Houston’s “The Children Are Our Future” – it’s cheesy, but true.]
  3. It’s Personal. Bottom line – I LOVE food. Seriously. When I am eating a meal I am usually already thinking about the next one, I watch cooking shows, I read about food, I usually can’t make it three hours without eating… I could be in serious trouble if I didn’t make a commitment to eating healthy, being active, and finding a balance to wellness that doesn’t drive me nuts. It is so fun to find new recipes and activity ideas. I practice new tips and ideas with my family and advocate for healthy habits within their lives. I will always be passionate about health so the fact that I get to tie this into my work is just icing on the cake! (I am working on a “healthier” version of that saying but I haven’t figure it out yet.)

Here are two new ideas that I’ll be trying this week. I hope you will join me!

  1. Have a fruit or vegetable at every meal and snack. This will hopefully help keep me fuller longer, keep calories down, and help me reach that goal of 5 fruits and vegetable every day.
  2. Popsicle Stick Activities. I saw this on Pinterest and recently learned about how great it works at one of the local child care centers. Take about 10 – 20 Popsicle sticks and write an activity on each one (e.g, 25 jumping jacks or 1 min of running in place). Place them all in a cup and have an empty cup with the word “Done!” written on it. Throughout the day, draw a Popsicle stick, do the activity, and then place it in the “Done!” cup. Keep going at different times in the day until all Popsicle sticks are completed. This is a great idea for a classroom, Saturday at home with the family, or even at work. I am going to try it while watching TV tonight – one Popsicle stick at every commercial break!

For more information on the NAP SACC Learning Collaborative visit the child care section here on our website and for more recipe and activity ideas follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

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