Students at Williams Elementary are participating in Unicef’s ‘Kid Power’ Program by wearing unique fitness bands during the school day measuring their activity levels.
At the end of the day, the third and fifth-grade teachers collect the fitness bands from the students, syncing them to a special tablet in the classroom. Once synced, the device reports on each student progress as they strive to earn points for their daily activity level.
The points earned by each student is then used to “unlock” what the students call “food packets” or Ready To Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for severely malnourished children around the world.
The RUTF is a paste which does not need to be mixed with water and is based on peanut butter mixed with dried skimmed milk, vitamins, and minerals. According to Unicef, just three servings a day can save the life of a child.
Williams Upper Elementary Principal, Denise Conrado, expressed delight at what she sees all over campus as a result of the program.
“As soon as they got their fitness bands, they would see me in the cafeteria at lunchtime and would ask me how many steps I had. They, of course, would have like ten thousand more than I did,” said Conrado, “They would compare with each other as too.”
Students are learning about fitness, global malnutrition and living a healthy life as part of the curriculum.
“I’m so impressed with the depth of knowledge they’re getting and that is what Common Core is all about. They’re not just learning to exercise. They are taking it deeper and learning all kinds of things like physiology and how to be healthy for life,” said Conrado.
Conrado added, “They’re just very excited, but they’re also talking about how they are feeding malnutritioned kids. They want to get more points to unlock food packets. Every ten points, they get to give another food packet, and they’re just really motivated to exercise to compete and give these food packets. It’s just a brilliant idea.”
WES Physical Education Specialists, Jared DuVal, and Samantha Herman are credited with uniting the students and school with the program.
We thought it would be a good fit for our school because we try to promote a culture where character counts,” said DuVal, “this program not only promotes a healthy lifestyle for the students, but it also emphasizes the opportunity to help others.”
The school administrative staff is also able to participate.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great,” said Maria Salcedo of Williams Elementary School, “Our physical education specialists are awesome! They have us moving and grooving.”
As part of a nationwide program, the Williams Unified School District has been included in the “Bay Area” region as the “Sacramento Area” group was full, according to Hermann and DuVal.
At the time this article went to press, Williams Students had a combined efforts of 1,006 RUTF packets donated in their name. In total, all Kid Power School Program participants have made it possible to give 39,732 food packets to malnutritioned children across the world.
Participation in the program is free to schools who complete an application and have been accepted into this program. Funding for the program is made possible by Unicef and corporate partners, such as Target and Star Wars: Force for Change, a charitable initiative through Disney and LucasFilms.
Individuals and families can participate on their own as well by purchasing a UNICEF Kid Power Band, which are available at Target and downloading the free UNICEF Kid Power App.
Schools can join by applying online at http: www.unicefkidpower.org to participate.
DuVal and Herman invite those with questions or who would like more information, to contact them at WES at (530)473-2885.