Mississippi BodyWalk Blog

being smart from the inside out

Changes: Endings and Beginnings May 13, 2015

Hello Body Walkers,

Thank you. Thank you for reading this little blog, and for supporting Body Walk all these years. Body Walk has traveled the roads of MS since 2005. I joined the program in 2008, and in 2009, I started recording our travels for you here.

Body Walk is a unique program. There is only one exhibit like this in the state. A few other states have a Body Walk exhibit of their own, but even nationwide, it is a rare program. It has been a jewel of nutrition education and positive publicity for MSU, and for MSU-Extension. Over the years, we have seen children in every county. There are young people now who are finishing up high school or beginning their college careers who fondly remember when Body Walk came to their school.

All things run their course, and Body Walk has come to the end of its traveling days. The truck, a trooper for these past 10 years, has finally had the engine give out. Since the truck will not be replaced, the exhibit is in permanent storage. Below are some pictures from this last year. The blog will remain online so anyone can scroll through the past posts and see where it traveled and just a fraction of who participated across the state to make this program such a success for so long.

Be Smart from the Inside Out

Have I ever shown you the exhibit from the back, looking down on it? This is what it looks like.

Have I ever shown you the exhibit from the back, looking down on it? This is what it looks like.

First stop in the pathway of life. This is the review at the end.

First stop in the pathway of life. This is the review at the end.

Rest of the Pathway of Life

Rest of the Pathway of Life

IMG_2420

Volunteers

Volunteers

Volunteers

It was a COLD, sunny day.

It was a COLD, sunny day.

Working with the MS Tobacco Free Coalition

Working with the MS Tobacco Free Coalition

Bye Kids.
MS Body Walk 2005-2015

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Summer Food Service Program June 4, 2014

Hello Body Walkers!

Last Thursday was a really great day for me. I got to go represent Body Walk at the Summer Food Service Program Kick-off! (Whew, that’s a mouthful.) I’m sure you are wondering what the Summer Food Service Program is, right?

I’m going to make it easy for all of us and quote directly from the program I received.

“The Summer Food Service Program is an initiative of USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to provide healthy meals to school-age children in districts where 50% or more of the child population qualifies for free or reduced meals. This program is managed by the MS Dept. of Education Office of Healthy Schools (MDE OHS) and allows sponsors to set up sites across Mississippi to provide meals and other activities at a maximum of twice daily. Whether it is in a school, mobile site, low-income housing unit, or religious organization, SFSP works to guarantee children living in poverty are able to access healthy food during the summer vacation months.”

This is HUGE Body Walkers! Body Walk teaches the importance of making healthy food choices to K-5th grade children. How can they do that if their food resources are limited, or worse, not even there? By providing healthy food to these children, they can exercise the lessons they learned in Body Walk. Of course, not all the children who will benefit from this program have gotten to see Body Walk, but some have. Of all the schools Body Walk sees during the course of the year, on average, 80% of them have a student population where 50% or more of the students receive free or reduced breakfast and lunches.

Now, let’s talk about the speakers and the messages they shared yesterday. This event was at the MS State Capital. It was supposed to be on the south lawn, but the rain forced us inside? Have you been to the capital? It is beautiful. You can take tours (link needed) and learn more about it. Ok, on to the speakers.

First up was Todd Ivey, Deputy State Superintendent for Operations; MS Dept. of Education. Mr. Ivey really set the tone by welcoming everyone and explaining some about what the SFSP is and who it is trying to help.

Next up was Aaron Sisk, Vice President of Operations; Magnolia Health Plan. I have included links here, please go read more about Magnolia Health. He talked some about his company and how invested they are in the health of our young people. I confess, at the beginning of the day, I knew nothing about Magnolia Health. I got to learn a lot later in the day, read on down to find out what I learned. (Or click the link, whatever makes you happy :).

Next up was Audry Rowe. Ms. Rowe is an Administrator for USDA Food and Nutrition Services. I really enjoyed hearing Ms. Rowe speak. She was passionate about her goals to increase the number of children, not just in MS, but all across the country, who receive this much needed summer meal assistance. She talked about where she had been so far and the people she is connecting with to help her achieve the goal. She really got the crowd fired up with her passion and vision.

After her was the reading of Governor Phil Bryant’s Summer Food Service Proclamation. This was nice as it shows the state’s commitment to this issue. Part of the proclamation, stated that the week of June 2-6 is going to be SFSP week. I expect there will be a push in the news and social media during this week to let people know what’s available and why it is needed.

The last main speaker was Lenora Phillips, Director of CACFP/SFSP, MS Dept. of Education, and Office of Child Nutrition. She told us about what specifically is happening in MS to bring this program to life and make it work. She showed us the posters that are being distributed across the state. She told us people will be able to access the resources at schools, at day care centers, at churches, at community centers, and more. MS is making a huge push during SFSP week and she wants us all to spread the word. She was vibrant in her enthusiasm.

Last to speak was Benjamin Russell, Communications Director, and Public Policy Center of MS, who offered the closing remarks.

I’m sure you are wondering, was that it? Was that the whole day? NO. There was more. After all the speakers, we when to the first floor where many people had tables set up with handouts, posters, and loads of information. I got to visit several of the tables.

I learned that Magnolia Health “is a long-term solution to help the state of Mississippi enhance care for Medicaid recipients while most effectively managing Medicaid funds. [Magnolia is] a physician-driven, Mississippi-based Medicaid Coordinated Care Organization (CCO)…” I had actually heard about similar services on National Public Radio, in relation to another company. I am so glad MS has something similar.

I also got to speak to Nancy Roman and Stephanie Yow. They both work for the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. They were there talking about their program fueluptoplay60. The fuel up to play program is a great compliment to the teachings of Body Walk. The BW lessons teach low-fat milk is a great beverage choice in the brain stations (part of a healthy breakfast), the stomach station (part of a healthy meal), and the bone station(a great way to get calcium.) I enjoyed talking to them and sharing how Body Walk teaches a fueled up body is better able to learn and play.

After touring the tables, it was time to leave. I hope you are excited about SFSP in MS and if you know of children who would really benefit from access to healthy meals, please share this information with their caretaker.

 

Body Walk in Amite County March 3, 2014

Hello Body Walkers!

Last week, the exhibit traveled to Amite County, Liberty MS. (Age test: Aaamite County, LiberTY MISSissIPPi is the home of what famous comedian? Leave your answer in the comments.) This was an excellent trip. Before I tell you about the trip though, I wanted to show you a fun new item, buttons!

Body Walk and the OrganWiseGuys go together like walking and improved health. So, it only makes sense that the station presenters should have some OrganWiseGuys buttons to wear while they are teaching.

Adorable

Vegetables and Fruit

Protein

Protein

Gotta wear them ALL

Gotta wear them ALL

In Liberty, I worked with Amy Walsh. She is an Extension Agent in Amite County. She worked with the school to set the best schedule for the kids to come tour. She also worked with the Southwest MS Community College Nursing Instructors to arrange for their students to teach inside the Body Walk. I LOVE working with nursing students. They are always excited, full of energy, and they make the information fun for the kids. This group was a no different. Every time I listened to them teaching, the elementary kids were laughing, calling out answers, and just having a ball. We saw K-4th grade at Amite County Elementary School aka Liberty Elem.

Awesome presenters

Nursing students from Southwest MS Community College

Sometimes the station presenters or volunteers are nervous before the first group of kids comes in. Every now and then though, you get some people who are completely relaxed, who have no worries.

No worries.

No worries.

Before beginning the tour, sometimes it’s good to stretch, to get all your muscles loose and limber. A relaxed body and mind is one that is ready for learning. Some of the volunteers took turns leading the kids in some simple stretches so they would be ready to learn when they started the tour.

Loose and limber, limber and loose.

Loose and limber, limber and loose.

Once they kids finished their five minutes of stretching, it was time to start the tour. First stop was the brain. Here, the kids learned knowledge begins with a healthy mind.

Feed your brain good food AND good information.

Feed your brain good food AND good information.

The best place to learn about what is good food is in the Stomach Station. These ladies were showing plenty of examples of good food. They have plush models of fruits and veggies and they have life-like models of meats, grains, and juice.

Healthy food is ALWAYS a good decision.

Healthy food is ALWAYS a good decision.

When we have a healthy body, all the parts are working like they should. Some of those parts are the muscles. Muscle groups work together to breath, to digest our food, to let us throw a ball, or blink, or climb a tree. This last picture shows two volunteers working together in perfect harmony. She is reading the script, and he is prepared with all the props. He is holding one pound of fat, one pound of muscle, plush Madame Muscle, and he has the sack with the stress balls on his back. When she flips the page, he is ready to engage the group with the correct prop. Teamwork!

TEAMWORK

TEAMWORK

As you may have noticed, several of the volunteers are wearing the buttons. They were excited to get to wear them, and I was excited to have one more way to engage the volunteers in the experience that is Body Walk. It was a great trip.

Body Walk will be traveling to three counties in March and a specific day in March is when the Extension Agents will be able to book Body Walk for next Fall. I am looking forward to that, Body Walkers!

Hearty Heart loves the new banner.

Hearty Heart loves the new banner.

 

Body Walk in Scott County, Forest Elementary March 8, 2013

Next up in February for Body Walk was Forest Elementary. This was my second time to set up all the new stuff (and I won’t count every time), and it went well. It is such a joy to see all the new items assembled. The exhibit as a whole just looks very nice in the different gyms. For this school, Carol Ballard booked the school. Cindy Adkins, school nurse, was Carol’s contact at this school. Cindy did a great job securing volunteers and planning the schedule.

Bearcats

Bearcats

Our volunteers were Allied Health students. They did a great job presenting the material to the Kindergarten, First, and Second grade students who toured the exhibit. The kids had a great time learning how to keep their brain, mouth, stomach, small intestine, heart, lungs, bones, muscles, and skin healthy. They liked having the high school students teach them and show them all the cool and interesting props that are unique to each room.

As always, the plasma light in the brain was an immediate attention grabber. The light simulates the speed of neurons firing in our brain. Without proper nutrition, those neurons don’t work like they are supposed to. A good breakfast with foods from all sections of MyPlate is a great way to start the day.

Thoughts are electrical signals in the brain.

Thoughts are electrical signals in the brain.

After we eat, it is important to brush our teeth. Healthy teeth let us eat all those healthy crunch foods.

A healthy mouth is important to overall good health.

A healthy mouth is important to overall good health.

Everyone should fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables.

MyPlate shows how much of each food group to have on your plate

MyPlate shows how much of each food group to have on your plate

 

Smoking is always a bad idea.

Windy says keep your lungs pink, don't smoke.

Windy says keep your lungs pink, don’t smoke.

Once the kids finished their tour, their teacher was given a stack of activity books, one for each student. These reinforce everything the students learned in their trip through the body.

An activity book and sticker.

An activity book and sticker.

Next up, Stone county.

 

 

 

 

Body Walk in Pike, North Pike Elementary

In February, Body Walk traveled to North Pike Elementary. If you read my last post, you know that I got several new items for the exhibit. This set up was the very first with the new stuff. All the volunteers did a great job. I used the instruction sheet to make sure we went step by step and everything turned out great.

The trickiest items were the new brain dome and the mouth entrance. The way these go together is COMPLETELY different from the old ones. They look nicer and are much more sturdy. Eventually, I’ll have it memorized, but for now, I follow the instructions and double-check all steps.

New brain dome perfectly set up.

New brain dome perfectly set up.

Mouth entrance, looking fantastic and ready for students.

Mouth entrance, looking fantastic and ready for students.

Sponsors

Sponsors

The next day, Southwest Community College Nursing students were the station presenters. Nursing students are great volunteers. They usually have lots of energy and can answer most questions the kids may have beyond what is printed in the script.

We saw second and third grade here. Latoya Evans booked this school for her county. Each school has something cute that makes it special and this school was no exception. On the way to the gym, cute caterpillars show the way.

Number catepillar

Number caterpillar

Letter caterpillar

Letter caterpillar

This was a great trip.

Next up, Scott county.

 

Body Walk in Magnolia MS February 5, 2013

A new year, a new month, but the same excellent information on ‘being smart from the inside out’ is rolling through Mississippi. First stop in 2013 was in Pike county, at Magnolia Elementary School. Here we saw K-5th grade, almost 700 students in all. Our station presenters were Allied Health students and nursing students from Copiah-Lincoln Community College.  We had so many great teenage volunteers that many of them served as chaperones in the exhibit.

Teachers go through with their classes, but there is only one, and the classes are usually split into thirds. Having a chaperone for the groups who go without the teacher is a great way to keep order in the exhibit, and for the teenagers to get to see the exhibit ‘in action’.

Great volunteers, great chaperones.

Great volunteers, great chaperones.

Latoya Evans booked Body Walk for her county.  Mississippi is known for some crazy weather, and one part of the state can be radically different from another on the same day. The drive down to Magnolia was filled with rain, and at times, very limited visibility. However, the day after was really crazy. Most of the state had a snow day. Colleges and schools got out early or canceled classes all together.

Making the most of the snow at MSU and getting plenty of good exercise! (photo by Russ Houston)

Making the most of the snow at MSU and getting plenty of good exercise! (photo by Russ Houston)

But in Magnolia, Hardy Heart and I enjoyed bright sunshine and warm temperatures.

It's so bright, I shoulda wore shades!

It’s so bright, I shoulda wore shades!

The kids loved having a nice bright day, and they enjoyed learning how to be healthy from their trip through the Body Walk.

Next up, Horn Lake Mississippi.

 

Body Walk in Newton MS February 4, 2013

Body Walk traveled to Newton Elementary School in Newton Mississippi. This trip was booked by MS Extension agent, Katrina McCalphia. We saw over 400 students, in grades K-4th. Here the volunteers were Allied Health students and AmeriCorps.

This was a great trip. All the volunteers worked very well together and the students had a wonderful time learning how to be healthy by making good choices for themselves.

One section I haven’t talked to much about is the Pathway to Life. The Pathway is the review at the end. This is a series of banners. Each banner represents a room the groups have passed through. There is usually one or two volunteers in the Pathway to review the groups on what they learned. They do this by pointing to each banner in turn and asking the groups questions. This is a difficult job because it is the last station, and the children are standing instead of sitting. Often the kids are ready to do something else, so it can be hard to hold their attention. The girls in Newton did a great job in the Pathway.

Ready to quiz the students on what they learned.

Ready to quiz the students on what they learned.

 

All the volunteers did a great job. As always, the students loved meeting the Organwise Guys as they traveled from room to room. They loved the giant teeth in the mouth station, and they loved (were horrified) by the pink and black lungs in the lung station. Overall, everyone did very well and the kids came away with a new understand of why they should make healthy choices, and HOW they can make healthy choices, every day.

 

Half of the Allied Health Students who did a wonderful job as station presenters.

Half of the Allied Health Students who did a wonderful job as station presenters.

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The other half of the Allied Health Students. Everyone was a real team player.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the AmeriCorps group. They were also great to work with. This was a great trip.

Next up, Pearl,Mississippi.