If you’ve ever taught someone how to solve a math problem, you know that the best way to learn is to teach. By empowering young people to pass on healthy messages to their peers, SOSMentor is transforming students into leaders.
Take Jackie De La O, for example. The 18-year-old student at Civitas School of Leadership, an interdisciplinary school within the Roybal Learning Center, in Los Angeles, wanted to learn more about the causes of childhood obesity, and what she could do to make a difference. She saw kids at her school buying chips and soda from other students, and wondered why there were so many fast food restaurants in her neighborhood.
To explore how childhood obesity is affecting her community, Jackie decided to do her senior project on the topic. She visited the school nurse’s office and learned about SOSMentor’s high school mentoring program, a part of the LAUSD Healthy Schools Campaign. Because of her leadership, Jackie’s class is now learning about the benefits of healthy eating and visiting another class each week to share these lessons.
The program consists of four workshops that cover USDA’s MyPyramid, the importance of physical activity and eating breakfast, and how to read nutrition labels. The culmination of the campaign is a poster contest that encourages kids to creatively illustrate what they learned.