The children at Gledhill Elementary School huddle around their new high school mentors in small groups, listening intently to their advice about healthy eating and exercise. The mentors are from Monroe High School and they have completed 5 weeks of nutrition education and physical activity workshops in the ShapeUp program. After being mentored by adult volunteers from the community, now it’s their turn to be positive role models for the elementary school students.
One of the high school students talks to his group of younger kids about the importance of drinking water, and another asks her group, “What are the three components of cardio respiration?” An eager young boy shoots his hand in the air and thinks through the answer, while his classmates help him fill in the missing information. “There we go, the heart, lungs, and the blood vessels,” the mentor reaffirms.
In the second half of the ShapeUp program, the children at Gledhill Elementary School will receive personal attention and encouragement from their Monroe High mentors, which helps them soak up information that many of them are learning for the very first time. The high school students are placed in a leadership position that boosts their self-esteem and allows them to make an impact on the younger generation. It’s a rewarding relationship that helps ensure the students are learning and applying the knowledge they need to stay healthy.