Devoted to vitamin and wholesome communities

Amanda Gerla
Heather Cruz

Chula Vista Elementary College District’s Heather Cruz is certainly one of six recipients honored with the Let’s Eat Wholesome Management Award. Launched by Dairy Council of California, the Let’s Eat Wholesome initiative brings educators, well being professionals and neighborhood leaders collectively to coordinate, collaborate and co-create alternatives to advocate neighborhood well being. Now, in its third 12 months, this awards program acknowledges those that educated, encourage and empower kids, households and communities to develop lifelong wholesome consuming habits.

Funded by California’s dairy farm households and native milk processors and below the steering of California Division of Meals and Agriculture, Dairy Council of California’s free science-based vitamin schooling assets, Cellular Dairy, classroom assemblies, coaching applications and on-line assets educate hundreds of thousands of scholars and households in California and all through the US.

Cruz is a Chula Vista resident that has labored within the CVESD for 19 years, with the previous six years working because the bodily schooling well being and wellness coordinator the place she leads the district’s wellness committee. With the help of this committee, she applied applications that improved vitamin entry, assets and help for the well-being of scholars, workers and the neighborhood. Cruz developed a Web site Wellness Leads program and initiated neighborhood partnerships and the district acquired San Diego County Workplace of Training’s complete well being schooling grant to jot down classes for lecturers.

Cruz mentioned the wellness committee is comprised with members from inside the district, exterior neighborhood members, and collectively work on creating wellness objectives for the district, then implanting and engaging in these objectives.

“Our objectives differ from having guardian outreach applications, revising our wellness coverage, in addition to particular objectives in creating the positioning wellness leads program,” she mentioned. “The positioning wellness leads program began 4 years in the past, one thing I developed as a result of as one particular person on the district, it was onerous for me to know all the things that each one the websites wanted. Every web site has particular wants. With this program, I’ve a wellness consultant from every web site that meets usually. They develop their very own objectives for their very own college web site.”

Cruz mentioned that she then coordinates to usher in the assets, just like the Dairy Council, to share with the positioning wellness leads numerous sources accessible to them. Cruz mentioned then, they test in with the websites on how they’re progressing with their objectives.

“That is an ongoing course of, and it has helped advance the wellness of every college web site,’ she mentioned.

Dairy Council of California Communications Supervisor Meggan Rush mentioned the Dairy Council helps dairies in California and offers dietary schooling for colleges that painting dairy as a optimistic meals selection for kids.

“Dairy is a really nutrient dense meals. It’s a low processed meals, and it’s simply assessable,” she mentioned.

Rush mentioned the Let’s Eat Wholesome initiative invitations leaders from colleges and vitamin champions to come back collectively and create equitable entry to wholesome meals and vitamin schooling.

“What actually stood out to us about Heather Cruz was her ardour to establish distinctive alternatives and sustainable options to advance wellness and wholesome consuming district broad,” she mentioned. “She works with college students in addition to college and workers to supply science-based vitamin schooling and the assets which are accessible.”

Rush mentioned it values Cruz stood out for her ardour that everybody receives high quality dietary schooling and offers them with the data to make knowledgeable choices on their well being.

“Which then, makes optimistic wholesome meals decisions,” she mentioned. “We name them dietary champions. They champion vitamin as a complete, and that everybody is entitled to nutritious meals and vitamin schooling no matter background, extenuating circumstances, and we actually noticed that in Heather.”

Cruz mentioned lately, one main widespread objective she sees is about worker wellness. She mentioned this got here from Driving Colleges Built-in Evaluation, the place they checked out completely different areas and worker wellness was chosen throughout the websites. She mentioned one other want is round well being schooling. She mentioned assets accessible are ample in serving to every web site attain their objectives.

“The Dairy Council is one,” she mentioned. “Our partnership with the American Coronary heart Affiliation. We work intently with the San Diego County Well being & Human Providers companies. They’ve a wealth of information concerning the completely different assets accessible, so I coordinate the efforts to usher in these companions to share with the websites or our wellness committee, what is accessible on the market.”

Cruz mentioned the well being schooling grant acquired from the county was a beautiful alternative for the district. She mentioned the committee determined to take among the issues they realized from the pandemic and the district’s distance studying and its use of expertise.

“We created grade-specific classes that deal with well being schooling requirements utilizing a platform known as Nearpod that the district bought for all lecturers,” she mentioned. “We created classes that classroom lecturers can ship nearly. It is a fascinating platform the place you’ll be able to put movies. Additionally, actions like Time to Climb the place they reply questions and attempt to be the primary particular person to climb up the mountain. The teachings all meet the requirements of the well being schooling that they’re speculated to be educating.”

Cruz mentioned the award is a “nice honor,” one as a result of it comes from the Dairy Council, which she mentioned is an impressive associate for the district.

“I’m simply actually pleased,” she mentioned. “Dairy Well being is all about elevating the well being of youngsters and households via the pursuit of lifelong wholesome consuming habits. That may be a giant a part of my job as properly. To be acknowledged as a pacesetter round that could be a nice honor for me. My objective right here is to empower the scholars and equip them with the talents and data to make these wholesome decisions. One of many causes that I moved from the lecture rooms to the district workplace was as a result of I wished to create an impression on a higher stage. I feel once we empower college students with these abilities and knowledges to make these decisions, what I discover is that usually impacts their total household.”

Rush mentioned that the response to the initiative was so optimistic, that it has grown this system from three award winners to 6 this 12 months.
Secretary of the California Division of Meals and Agriculture Karen Ross mentioned the Let’s Eat Wholesome initiative is a robust instance of the kind of collaboration and partnerships which are wanted to help wholesome households and communities.

“This 12 months’s award recipients are making a distinction by increasing vitamin schooling and farm to high school programming, advocating for sustainable meals methods and supporting equitable entry to nutritious meals,” she mentioned in a press launch.


Dedicated to nutrition and healthy communities

Dedicated to nutrition and healthy communities

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