Thursday, June 21, 2018
Education

Backpacks with outdoor toys encourage kids to stay active this summer

TAMPA

The Bryant family has always been active. Jennifer and Kenneth's three children all play sports and the family is constantly on the move.

"We always thought because we were active, we could eat what we wanted to," Jennifer Bryant said.

But Noah Bryant, a first-grader at Richardson Montessori Academy, has been learning about healthy eating through the Moffitt Healthy Kidz Program and it has changed how his parents look at mealtimes.

Kindergarten and first-grade students participated in the five-week program, with special lessons once a week about fitness, healthy eating, sun protection and the dangers of smoking. The program has been running in Hillsborough County schools since 2009.

To cap off the program at Richardson this year, students received backpacks Tuesday with toys, including jump ropes and beach balls to encourage them to turn off the TV, put down the junk food and play outside this summer.

Healthy Kidz works because it is motivational and interactive, said Nikki Ross-Inda, program organizer for Moffitt. It's harder for adults to change their habits, so she hopes what the kids learn will stick with them into adulthood.

About 30 students got the backpacks. It's expected 1,000 will be distributed, targeting low-income families. Some will be distributed during a back-to-school event in August at the Lee Davis Neighborhood Service Center in Tampa. The nonprofit organization Children With a Vision will give out some backpacks, as well. Others will be distributed in rural areas.

A Pepsi Refresh grant paid for supplies in the 1,000 backpacks. Molina Healthcare donated the packs, and USF public health students put them together.

Ross-Inda hopes to find funding and community partners for more backpacks.

Teachers at Richardson have noticed changes over recent weeks in how students act in the classroom. Noah Bryant earned straight A's on his last report card, his mother said. The students talk about what they've learned, and compare notes on each other's healthy lunches.

Noah can't pick just one favorite fruit. He has three: strawberries, apples and blueberries. The 7-year-old wants to play football and be a lawyer someday, so he's going to need a lot of energy.

"That's why I eat fruits and vegetables," he said. He stays away from sugary foods and caffeine.

"It's just as important to make the right food choices," his mother said, "as it is to run that extra mile."

Keeley Sheehan can be reached at (813) 226-3321 or [email protected]

CORRECTION: The Moffitt Healthy Kidz Program will distribute backpacks during a back-to-school event in August at the Lee Davis Neighborhood Service Center in Tampa. Earlier versions of this story appearing in print and online gave an incorrect location.

Comments
Hernando school officials set to discuss replacement, sever ties after firing Superintendent Lori Romano

Hernando school officials set to discuss replacement, sever ties after firing Superintendent Lori Romano

BROOKSVILLE — With dust still settling from the Hernando County School Board’s close vote to fire Superintendent Lori Romano — and days before her time as head of the district runs out — school officials and community members seem to be already movin...
Published: 06/20/18
Hernando students score slightly better on state tests

Hernando students score slightly better on state tests

BROOKSVILLE — As schools and districts across the state await their 2018 grades from the Florida Department of Education, the standardized test scores that factor into those ratings and were dropped last week show slight gains in Hernando County.The ...
Published: 06/20/18
Budget analysis projects deficit, deepened by security costs, for Pasco schools in coming year

Budget analysis projects deficit, deepened by security costs, for Pasco schools in coming year

An early analysis of the Pasco County School District’s 2018-2019 budget projects a deficit of more than a million dollars, with more than half of that coming from a shortfall in funding new school safety requirements.Costs to hire and train 53 new s...
Published: 06/20/18
New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

ST. PETERSBURG — Originally pitched as a nine- or 10-story, 550-bed dorm for the overcrowded University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, USF’s latest residence hall project will likely look much different by the time it’s done.For starters, it...
Published: 06/20/18
Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Am I missing something in the — pardon the expression — brouhaha over the renaming of the University of South Florida Sun Dome to the Yuengling Center? In trading a college arena’s longtime name for that of a big-name beer brewed ne...
Published: 06/20/18

Hillsborough school district will pursue two kinds of local taxes

TAMPA — Hillsborough County School District officials took an important step Tuesday toward asking the voters to pay higher taxes for schools that, they say, are not getting enough money from the state.The board voted 5-0 to submit a tax referendum r...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Editor’s note: Ethan Hooper wrote today’s column to give Ernest Hooper Father’s Day off.In May, I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in elementary education, and I recently secured a job as a first-grade teacher with Orang...
Published: 06/18/18
AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

Since 2002, the AP World History course has covered thousands of years of human activity around the planet, starting 10,000 years back. But now the College Board, which owns the Advanced Placement program, wants to cut out most of that history and st...
Published: 06/16/18
School board races attract new faces

School board races attract new faces

TAMPA — When long-time Hillsborough County School Board member Susan Valdes resigned this month from the board to run for the State House of Representatives, the decision affected more than just her seat in west Hillsborough’s District 1.It also coul...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/17/18
Hillsborough schools tax referendum is unlikely for November

Hillsborough schools tax referendum is unlikely for November

TAMPA — Money that the Hillsborough County School District needs to build schools and replace air conditioners might be farther from reach, thanks to a new state law and a bureaucratic process required before the voters can decide on a tax referendum...
Published: 06/14/18