As the school year starts, Guidestone’s education programs expand to include both field experiences and classroom-based work, partnering with teachers in the Salida School District, and this year we’ll be building on some of the exciting work we began last year.
Guidestone had the privilege to partner with with an amazing team during the second semester of last school year to bring the “Food for Thought” curriculum, developed by Cathy Schmelter of An Ounce of Nutrition, to Salida High School. “Food for Thought” highlights the value of eating healthy in all aspects from personal health to the economic and environmental benefits of local foods. The idea for the curriculum emerged when Schmelter realized the dearth of nutrition education materials for youth, and that some real physical consequences of this were manifesting as diseases, like diabetes, in children that had previously only been seen in adults.
After a successful pilot year in Denver schools in 2012, LiveWell Colorado recognized the need for nutrition education in rural parts of the state, such as Chaffee County where childhood obesity rates are 6% above state average, and funded the pilot of “Food for Thought” in 5 high schools across Colorado, which included Salida High School. Education Director Andrea Earley Coen and Farm to School Program Manager Margaret Fitch worked every week with Deb Bass’ senior English course English through Sustainability both in the classroom and the Salida School Garden on Holman Ave. Guidestone is thrilled to have been a part of this opportunity to work with Cathy, Deb and her students, and to have this unique, comprehensive curriculum for use in future youth education programs.
While “Food for Thought” won’t be taught this semester in English through Sustainability our partnership with Bass’ class will continue. Gunnar Paulsen, Guidestone’s AmeriCorps VISTA, will work with students to market the Garden to Cafeteria Project through news pieces, radio stories, video blogs, and social media. So keep your eyes and ears peeled! The purpose of that work will be to help high school students learn about sustainability and environmental stewardship while honing communication skills that will serve them well throughout their professional lives.