Win 4 Kids Finalist- NStep

NStep_Photo-_400_pxl.jpgToday, 1.6 million Canadian children are overweight or obese and ‘NSTEP is on a mission to address the school, one community and one province at a time.

‘NSTEP’s goal is to prevent childhood obesity.

‘NSTEP EAT WALK LIVE is a school-based program that delivers interactive presentations on physical activity, healthy eating and building student leadership. The program teaches students, parents and teachers the importance of walking more and eating from the four food groups as a means to live longer and be healthier.

“We believe that small changes add up to big benefits. Our goal is to work collaboratively with the whole school community to change the culture for healthier habits. Students learn and practice new behaviours so they become habits for life. Parents learn what foods to buy and eat, and WHY activity is important everyday, for learning,” said ‘NSTEP founder Deb Hymers.

'NSTEP EAT WALK LIVE builds sustainability and capacity through professional development for educators, classroom follow-up visits, and student-led parent education sessions.  Activities are integrated into math, science, social studies and language arts classes. Through fun and interactive games tailored to each grade, students learn about physical activity and healthy eating. 

“An example is Snack Attacks, where student leaders from upper level classes (grades 4+) are taught how to make a healthy snack. These student leaders then teach their class, who then share their knowledge with their little buddies in K-3 and their parents,” explained Hymers. “This fosters a positive learning environment and student leadership within the whole school community.”

The program includes simple assessment tools for students to track activity and eating habits, and results are reported back to both the school and parents.

The ‘NSTEP EAT WALK LIVE program lasts the entire school year, giving kids, teachers and parents a chance to develop and practice the lifestyle skills they learn.

Funding from GoodLife Kids Foundation will support the full implementation of ‘NSTEP at a school with hundreds of students. This will help the programs in Calgary and Edmonton equip their youth to live healthier lives and build a healthier generation.

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The Confidence to Try #FEELGOODFRIDAY Lukas is a 10-year-old Raptors fan who plays basketball with his local chapter of Special Olympics, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was afraid to join a team. Lukas is an outgoing kid who likes to make friends and has always been very active. But his early experiences in organized physical activity were not positive. One of his biggest challenges with autism is struggling to follow directions in large groups. He was often told he was doing things wrong and even that he would embarrass the team. “These negative comments deflated his confidence, and he became afraid to try new things,” explained his mom Lisa. When he was eight, Lukas took part in the Sports of All Sorts program at the Geneva Centre for Autism. The supportive environment in the Sports of All Sorts program, funded by a GoodLife Kids grant, was a real game-changer for him. Constant encouragement and positive reinforcement gave Lukas a safe space to explore new activities without a fear of being judged. With one-on-one support he played basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf. “We’re so glad to make physical activity a regular part of Lukas’ life and we’ve found ways for him to continue practicing at home,” said Lisa. “We bought a tennis net for the backyard, and now that he’s not afraid, he loves to go to glow-in-the-dark mini-putt with his dad!” As Lukas turned around on the basketball court to wave to his mom, he gave her two big thumbs up and her eyes welled up with tears of joy. “Watching him enjoy himself, I’m overwhelmed with happiness and pride,” she shared. “He has talents! But most of all, he has regained a belief in himself – that he CAN do it – and that is so powerful.”

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