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

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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.

 

Happy Fall! September 23, 2013

Filed under: Body Walk — mississippibodywalk @ 2:24 PM
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It’s officially fall, and that means Body Walk is on the road again, spreading the message of Smart from the Inside Out.

Recently, the MS Body Walk was featured on the OrganWise Guys blog, be sure to check that out. Some never before seen pics are on there.

Tomatoes are a food of the month for September, and September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness month. September 24 is National Eat Dinner with Your Family Day. Taking these three together, you could make a low calorie, delicious meal featuring tomatoes for supper tonight to enjoy with your family.

Body Walk started the traveling season at Southeast Elementary in Lauderdale county. Tenisha Spencer booked Body Walk for her county. We had a great time, teaching the K-4th grade students all about the choices they can make to keep all their organ wise guys healthy. Some of the kids really needed the information and to see examples of what healthy organs look like. I overheard the volunteer ask the kids in the lung station what color their lungs are.  One child yelled, BROWN at the same time another yelled GREEN.  I almost fell over laughing. The volunteer was great though. She didn’t laugh at all. She calmly explained PINK is the color of healthy lungs, and the color we should all want our lungs to be.

Our volunteers were Allied Health students from Southeast High School. They did a great job. They had a lot of energy and enthusiasm explaining the lessons and leading the elementary students in the activities.  They helped tear down at the end of the day, and they enjoyed posing in the Brain dome after we took all the fabric off it.

ImageThe year is off to a great start. I hope your fall is off to a great start as well. Have dinner with your family tonight. I’m off to make whole-wheat spaghetti with diced tomatoes I put up myself earlier this summer. Yum!

 

Body Walk in Stone County June 11, 2013

In late February, Body Walk traveled to Stone County. Here, Brad Jones booked the exhibit for his county. We saw kids at two locations,  Stone Elementary School and Perkinson Elementary. We saw K-5th at both locations. This was a long trip, taking most of the week to see over 1100 kids. We had great help at both locations. Brad had plenty of volunteers lined up at both locations so the set-ups and take downs went very smoothly.

Some of our volunteers were nursing students. The elementary kids loved learning about their body and how to keep it healthy. They enjoyed the lively and high energy delivery from the station presenters.  The volunteers told them a great breakfast makes for a great day. To much sugar can lead to tooth decay. Stomachs are happiest when fed nutritious food in the proper portions. Intestines and kidneys love water. Hearts work hard so should you. Lungs want CLEAN air, no smoking! Bones and muscles work well together. Lastly, skin works best when clean, so wash your hands!

There was more to each message of course. The presenters had five minutes with each group to teach the lessons of the Body Walk.

Great volunteers make for a great experience.

Great volunteers

Great volunteers

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Enthusiastic volunteers

 

Body Walk in Fulton Mississippi February 8, 2013

The last trip of January was to Itawamba county. Marie Rogers booked this trip for her county. I have been here several times before. It is always a good experience. Usually, the football team from Itawamba Community College helps with the set up. They were on hand and they did a great job. When there is A LOT of help with the set up, sometimes it is hard to organize, or have everyone listening when they need to. Not a problem this trip. The men had excellent listening and teamwork skills. We had the truck unloaded, and the whole thing set up in under an hour.

The next day, 300 third graders came to see the exhibit. We saw kids from five schools, Itawamba Attendance Center, Dorsey, Mantachie, Tremont, and Fairview. Our volunteers were allied health students and nursing students. They all did a great job making the material come to life for the students. The Allied health students gave out bookmarks, helped administer the quiz, and served at chaperones to the groups.  The nursing students were station presenters, led the kids in 10 minutes of dance while they waited their turn to tour, and were in charge of shoe wrangling.

Starting with the brain, because a healthy brain makes smart choices.

Starting with the brain, because a healthy brain makes smart choices.

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In the mouth they learn to brush twice a day and floss! How can you eat healthy food without teeth to chew it?

In the stomach, they learn about MyPlate. Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables!

In the stomach, they learn about MyPlate. Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables!

With intestines 22 ft long, it's a good thing they coil up so well in our bodies.

With intestines 22 ft long, it’s a good thing they coil up so well in our bodies.

Hardy Heart knows how to keep a heart healthy. Eat smart and play hard!

Hardy Heart knows how to keep a heart healthy. Eat smart and play hard!

Want healthy lungs for life? Don't smoke!

Want healthy lungs for life? Don’t smoke!

Everyone can have strong muscles. Use them- 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Everyone can have strong muscles. Use them- 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Keep your skin free of germs. Wash your hands often.

Keep your skin free of germs. Wash your hands often.

Allied Health

The Allied Health class.

Nursing students from ICC.

Nursing students from ICC.

The kids loved learning how to ‘be smart from the inside out’.  Everyone did a great job.

Next up, something different.

 

Body Walk in Horn Lake Mississippi February 5, 2013

January rolls on and so does the Body Walk. Next up for the education exhibit was a trip to Horn Lake MS in Desoto county. Going go Desoto is always nice. Jessica Lindsey is great to work with. She is organized and efficient. Organized and efficient are two of my favorite words. We saw just under 600 students, K-2nd.

Horn Lake Elementary

Horn Lake Elementary

At this school, the station presenters were the same people every day. This was nice because once they had been through the script a few times, they had the information down pat. They could then put the script down and be more relaxed with the kids. They could ask a few more questions and make the lessons even more interactive. The volunteers/station presenters were teacher assistants and student teachers from the school. Another nice feature of this trip was the groups. EACH group had a chaperone. A lot of schools don’t have the manpower available to have a chaperone with each group. This time they did, and it was very nice. The overall vibe was subdued excitement. The kids were very attentive and all of them were able to hear and focus on the information being presented to them.

Ideally, each child is going to be healthy, awake and ready to learn. The reality though is sometimes kids don’t feel well. And sometimes when they don’t feel well, they ignore it because they don’t want to miss anything fun. When that happens, sometimes not feeling well makes itself known in other ways. Yep, I had my very first threw-up-in the Body Walk. Don’t worry. The kid felt MUCH better afterwards.

The reason I bring it up is because the lung station presenter handled it GREAT. While the group chaperone escorted the student to the nurse, the volunteer herded the kids outside the exhibit. She let me know what happened, and a new plan was devised.  The kids kept going through normally. When they finished the heart room, they came OUTSIDE and learned about their lungs. Then they got to use the ‘secret entrance’ to enter the bone station and finish the exhibit in the normal way. Thanks to everyone’s quick thinking, we didn’t get behind on the schedule, the kids still got the full experience, few of them knew a fellow classmate got sick, and everyone still had a good time. The teamwork was great to be a part of, and to see.

Kids learning about their lungs outside of the body.

Kids learning about their lungs outside of the body.

Every time Body Walk travels to a new place, the kids have questions. This time was no different. Some of the questions: “Is it scary?”  “Will we get a shot?”  “Will it hurt?”  The answer to all these is no. The best question was asked by a first grader. After the review, she wanted to know, ‘What’s next?” That’s the sign of a good experience, they want more.

The ‘more’ was the activity book the teacher received to use in the classroom that reinforced everything they learned in the exhibit.

Next up, Itawamba county.