KHS receives grant to promote healthy habits

By: 
Lauren Clark, Contributing Writer

Photo by Lauren Clark

Four new ranges, a cook top, pots and pans, microwaves, utensils, toasters, griddles and more are just a sampling of the items that have been purchased for the kitchen area of the Kalkaska High School Health Room thanks to a $5,000 grant from District Health Department No. 10.

 

KALKASKA – District Health Department No. 10 recently awarded a $5,000 grant to gym/health teacher Chuck Schuba at Kalkaska High School. The funds are earmarked for improvements to the kitchen facilities used by health class students.

The grant was made available for the health department to utilize through the Northwest Michigan Chronic Disease Prevention Coalition to assist with “the development and implementation of policy, systems and/or environmental changes that promote physical activity, improve nutrition, and/or prevent tobacco use.”

The grant is helping to fund the purchase of required kitchen supplies and the replacement of ovens and stove tops. The shopping list includes microwaves, cooking utensils, mixers, pots and pans.

A few of needed items have already been purchased – such as ovens and a stove top – from Max’s of Traverse City, along with some small appliances. The necessary electrical work was completed by Kuhn’s Electric of Kalkaska.

With the upgrades to the teaching kitchen, Schuba said opportunities open up to reach more students and community groups in and around Kalkaska County.

He would like to see an after school cooking club for students and a curriculum that allowed middle school and elementary students to gain kitchen experience and knowledge. Schuba would also like to see adult education lessons and partnerships with the hospital and health department to reach even more residents.

Schuba currently partners with the local Michigan State University Extension office to make nutrition education a hands-on lesson for high-schoolers, with a six-week course called “Teen Cuisine,” taught by Michelle Smith. Smith is the MSU Extension Community Nutrition Instructor for Kalkaska, Benzie and Grand Traverse counties.

Smith related a story about challenging the Health Class students to make one small dietary change in their lives, and one young man chose to start eating breakfast every morning.

“I asked him if he noticed anything different once he started eating breakfast,” Smith shared. “He said, ‘I definitely feel like I have more energy, especially in the morning.’

“Having this young man make one choice such as consistently eating in the morning is a huge testament to how a small change can make a difference in how well we feel. Not only was this teen's life changed, but also the other students in the class were affected by his accomplishment and were encouraged to continue working on their healthier goals,” Smith said.

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