Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” The Antelope Valley high school students participating in SOSMentor’s ShapeUp program are learning this firsthand, as they reap the feel-good benefits of helping younger students.
This Spring, we brought the ShapeUp program to the Children’s Center of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, which provides a variety of services to child victims of abuse, children at risk of abuse, and their families. In the program, 6 adult mentors, including Registered Dietitian Marina Carrillo-Infante, taught our nutrition curriculum to 6 high school students. The high school students then mentored 8 elementary school students, teaching them what they learned about nutrition and fitness.
The small size of this particular program allowed the high school students to become close with their younger mentees, and in turn, to learn a lot themselves. To demonstrate the excessive sugar load in beverages such as juice and soda, the participants measured out the sugar, one tablespoon at a time.
By the end of the program, the high school students had gained confidence and satisfaction from serving as mentors. One high school student said, “This made me feel like a role model. The kids looking up to me made me feel proud.” Another student said, “I helped the little kids make healthier choices in life, so I know I’m helping the next generation of children.”
We are so pleased that our students are not only learning about good nutrition and healthy living through our ShapeUp program, but also about the value of serving others.