FitFitBanner Images

Audio Archive Audio Archive



Stop, Look, Buy Healthy

January 22nd, 2011 - By Therese Madden




Share on Tumblr

School crossing guards have the intersections covered, but what about the corners? That’s where the “yellow vests” come in. At William D. Kelley Elementary School in North Philadelphia, there’s a group of parents keeping an eye out for bad behavior, bullying and even bad snack choices at the corner store.

Listen

We hear about how kids don’t walk to school, but some do. At William D. Kelley Elementary School in North Philadelphia, the majority of the students still walk to school, many of them unescorted by an adult. They do have crossing guards and recently another sort of adult has turned up to help.

Dressed in fluorescent yellow vests, these folks can often be found standing outside a corner store, offering advice. “Shouldn’t be eating that early in the morning, that’s a bunch of sugar, they have breakfast inside,” that’s Al Jordan, one of the parent volunteers known as the “yellow vests.” The main goal of this group is to make sure the kids get to school safely, and on time. But, while they were at it, they figured they could also try to get the kids to make healthy choices.

“You going to eat that this morning, or are you going to eat it this afternoon?” Jordan and the other “yellow vests” greet the kids on their way into the store, there are 4 corner stores surrounding Kelly Elementary. Al Jordan explains how it works, “this is what I say to kids, you have a choice today, either it’s candy or healthy foods tomorrow, but if you choose candy today, I hope you make another choice tomorrow, healthy foods. We don’t force kids to do anything, we just give them a choice.”

Stopping in the store on the way to school is a ritual for many kids. Josiah is a second grader who says he comes to this store every morning, “I get a lot of stuff, like candy, chips, junk food, everything.” And for many kids this is breakfast. Wendy Fine is the school nurse, “the first thing that I noticed when I came to this school was in the morning I would see all the students and they would be eating chips and soda, so that is certainly not a breakfast item to me.”

The school does offer free breakfast to all students, but many choose not to eat it. And according to Stephanie Johnson, a grandmother who volunteers with the “yellow vests,” some of them don’t like to be told what to do. “You get all kinds of answers from them, ‘your not my parent,’ ‘why you telling me this?’ ‘My mom gave me the money,’ but what can you say? You can only say ok, your mother gave you the money, but can you go to school and get a breakfast? You can’t fight fire with fire, sometimes you got to put a little water on it to smother it out, to put it out completely, and that comes with love.”

The “yellow vest” volunteers have to go through training before they join the program. A big part of this training is learning how to deal with resistance. Douglas Evans facilities these workshops, “we want to prepare the parents for how the children may receive them and for some of the negative things the children might say and we want to prepare them that there best defense is to be armed with a smile and a kind word.”

And the good attitudes seemed to have rubbed off on the store owners as well. Glabybell Almonte works at the store directly across from the school, it’s her family’s business. Here’s how she feels about the yellow vests offering advice, “I think it’s fair enough cause the little kids, they do be coming here during school hours, early in the morning, buying candy that’s actually not healthy. Nothing healthy pretty much, sugar, a lot of sugar. So, I think it’s good enough, I think it’s the right thing to do.”

SEE THE YELLOW VESTS IN ACTION:

[portfolio_slideshow order="DESC"]

1 Response to Stop, Look, Buy Healthy

Photo by Flicker user Chiot's Run / CC BY-NC 2.0



Move Over, Kale Chips! Kale Buds Are Here

By Lari Robling - April 18th, 2012

High Tunnel farming caught my eye because its extended growing season adds to the amount of local produce we get. While farm manager Aviva Asher was tidying up the winter crop to make way for spring, I discovered another benefit of local growing: use what you’ve got.

More wisdom »




November 2014
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Got a question for Fit? Want to submit your own "fit and fresh" recipe? Have a good story idea for us?


Contact us at fit@whyy.org




Get Healthy Philly is part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Initiative, a federal effort to: prevent and delay chronic disease, reduce risk factors, promote wellness in children and adults, and provide positive sustainable health change in our communities.


Food Fit Philly is part of Get Healthy Philly, a program that works to reduce and prevent obesity and related chronic diseases (like heart disease and diabetes) by increasing access to healthy foods that people can afford.


Your body needs help when it's time to quit. SmokeFree Philly is a program of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health that offers support and tools to help smokers quit. The goal of SmokeFree Philly is to: help people to quit smoking, stop people from starting to use tobacco, and reduce heart disease, cancer and other illnesses caused by smoking.




Philly Food Bucks!
Philly Food Bucks are coupons that help ACCESS/food stamp customers save money on fruits and vegetables. Philly Food Bucks can be redeemed for $2 worth of fruits and vegetables for every $5 spent in ACCESS/food stamps at a participating farmers' market. Learn more about Philly Food Bucks at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's recently expanded web site Food Fit Philly.com. Now also accepted at the West Oak Lane Weaver's Way Food Coop.