USDA Recognizes Dalton Public Schools Nutrition Services

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - by Lindsey Derrick
Jodi Brown (left), nutrition coordinator for Dalton Public Schools, introduces Family Support Council representatives (left to right) Mary Smith, Holly Rice and Bill Sloan along with some of the Kids on the Block puppets. The Family Support Councils' Kids on the Block puppeteers volunteer in the Dalton schools to do puppet shows on the benefit of good nutrition and exercise for students.
Jodi Brown (left), nutrition coordinator for Dalton Public Schools, introduces Family Support Council representatives (left to right) Mary Smith, Holly Rice and Bill Sloan along with some of the Kids on the Block puppets. The Family Support Councils' Kids on the Block puppeteers volunteer in the Dalton schools to do puppet shows on the benefit of good nutrition and exercise for students.

The Dalton Public Schools Nutrition Services Department has been recognized for its efforts to promote healthier living.  

Nutrition Program Coordinator Jodi Brown received word that they had been awarded the USDA Best Practice for promoting a Healthier School Environment.  

“The activity that made the award possible was a nutrition message to DPS elementary students in the form of a live puppet show,” Ms. Brown said.

The puppet shows come from an organization called Kids on the Block—an international organization that uses puppets to help spread awareness about drugs and alcohol, abuse, and dealing with disabilities.  

The local Family Support Council already used Kids on the Block to teach children about abuse and to learn about good touch versus bad touch. 

Three years ago, Ms. Brown and DPS partnered with the local Family Support Council and Mary Smith, Family Support Council volunteer coordinator, to bring in the healthy living shows. DPS purchased scripts and handmade puppets from Kids on the Block and waited on their arrival.

The healthy living shows have now been shown to DPS 4th and 5th graders for two years. 

“The puppet shows emphasize consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and daily exercise as lifelong benefits to our health, said Ms. Brown.  

Ms. Brown applied for the award back in March—she had to fill out paperwork and also share details the project— and then waited on the news.

“It’s so great and unique I thought we’d win something,” Ms. Brown said of the shows. 

Ms. Brown said the USDA award wouldn’t have been possible without the Family Support Council and the volunteers.

“Yes, we sponsor the program, but Family Support Council is the one who made it happen. They are the reason this fell into place, and we could’ve have done it without them,” Ms. Brown said. 

The DPS Nutrition Services Department will receive a certificate from the USDA for their award, and both organizations were recognized at the September board meeting. 

The Nutrition Services Department doesn’t stop at the puppet shows to promote good eating choices— they also sponsor health fairs in the elementary and middle schools through the year as part of the effort. 

 To learn more about Kids on the Block, visit http://kotb.com/.


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