How to start a conversation about making healthy choices

 

The Youth Literacy Tutors (YLTs) at Hyde Square Task Force gave themselves a special task last year. After identifying obesity as a problem in their community, they set out to create a book that would start a conversation with kids about making healthy choices.

Seedless Elementary: Scooter and Flippy’s Healthy Adventure, is the story of two friends: an unhealthy cheeseburger named Scooter and his healthy friend, Flippy, a broccoli. After Scooter finished last in a running race at school, he decided he was unhappy with his lifestyle and asked Flippy to help him get healthy. The two began exercising together everyday and tied for first place in the big race at the end of the school year.

Kids have a lot to learn from Scooter and Flippy. 15 year-old YLT Brian Nuńez wants them to know if you eat healthy and exercise, you can reach your goals. Adriana Snow, one of the creators of the book, wants youth to understand the importance of self-motivation and friendship. Scooter didn’t feel good about himself, so he took the initiative and asked for help. She hopes kids learn, “You don’t have to do it by yourself and you can accomplish more with help.”

Brian, Adriana, and the rest of the YLTs want kids and parents to read this book together. The YLTs hope Scooter and Flippy will inspire kids to say to their parents “Let’s go cook together” or “Can we go to the park?” Adriana smiles every time she thinks about the recipes and activities she helped to create. She says, “Parents and kids can do them together and they really work!”

Here are some tips on how parents can use Scooter and Flippy start a conversation about making healthy choices:

  • Read Scooter and Flippy with your child
  • Talk about the healthy changes Scooter made in his life
  • Try a Scooter and Flippy recipe
  • Do a Scooter and Flippy activity (link to activity)
  • Go to or host a book tour event
  • Take a walk with your child
  • Go to the park

To let people know about Scooter and Flippy, the YLTs kicked off a Book Tour in May at the Connolly Library in Jamaica Plain. At tour events, the YLTs read the story to the kids, lead a literacy or physical fitness activity, and distribute free copies of the book to all participants. One physical activity in the book is Get Ready, Get Set, Go!, an obstacle course that Brian and another member of the Book Tour team developed. According to both Brian and Adriana, plenty of fun was had by the YLTs when they were testing out the youth activities before doing them with the kids.

Want to try some of the Scooter and Flippy activities and recipes?

To request a free copy of the book or for more information on hosting a Book Tour event, please contact Ana Almeida at ana@hydesquare.org or (617) 524-8303 x 324.

Read below if you want to learn more about how the YLTs created Scooter and Flippy!

The YLTs are a group of 15 teens that dedicate four days a week to helping nearly 50 elementary school-aged children with their homework and other projects. The YLTs also participate in workshops to learn, for example, how to use educational games or to improve teaching techniques. 15-year-old Adriana Snow, a sophomore at Boston Latin who aspires to be a teacher someday, says, “I love the children.” She most enjoys teaching them a new skill, such as solving a math problem. When the child is able to use that technique the next time, she feels “really satisfied and proud.”

Brian Nuńez, a 15-year old sophomore at West Roxbury High School, enjoys helping the kids sound out words and improve their reading. What he likes best, though, is that by the end of the school year, they were reading to him instead of the other way around.

The development of Scooter and Flippy was truly a collaborative effort. Three committees—research, writing, and illustration—were responsible for the final product. The writing team designed the storyline and after a section of it was approved, the illustrators would create the images. The research team, of which Adriana is a member, was tasked with creating the activities and recipes in the back of the book, and also finding the most cost-effective way to produce the book.

So what did Adriana and Brian learn from working on Scooter and Flippy? Brian realized “just how bad fast food really is.” He’s much more aware now of the food choices he makes and is taking small steps to eat healthier and engage in more physical activity. He says, “I try to eat a healthy lunch and less junk food!” Adriana really enjoyed building her teamwork skills and learning about nutrition and physical activity. Scooter, Flippy, and all the YLTs are all evidence of how, if you put your mind to doing something and seek help from friends, you too can accomplish your goals.

Visit www.hydesquare.org for more information on the YLTs and other Hyde Square Task Force programming.

Image courtesy of BHCC.

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2 comments on “How to start a conversation about making healthy choices
  1. Paul Trunnell says:

    Cool! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Evancho says:

    Every parents wants that their children is healthy. It is important also not to eat healthy food all the time because when child gets something not so healthy – his or her body will react. So think about it also!

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