Shelly Johnson and her team at UI Extension Eat Smart Idaho partners every year with the Post Falls Nutrition Services Department to produce the district's’ wellness calendar for all of the elementary-age students. This idea originally started five years ago with Captain Steve Jones and Engineer Dylan Clark from the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department. They wanted to be more involved with the health and wellness of our school aged children.
Included in the calendar each year are nutrition messages, healthy recipes and the promotion of physical activity. Over the last few years this project has grown to include the Northern Lakes Fire department as well as Kootenai Fire and Rescue.
“This year‘s calendar focuses on encouraging success in the kitchen with tasty and simple snack recipes families can prepare at home. We were able to test all of these recipes this last summer at our local Boys and Girls Clubs as well as in the CDA and Lakeland School Districts at their summer feeding locations. These were the favorite recipes of the summer!” Says Shelly Johnson, University of Idaho Extension Nutrition Professor who compiles the calendar. Deliveries were made to all of the Elementary schools in the Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene School Districts during the last week of school before the holiday break. “We usually have gone classroom to classroom educating students about wellness but this year with Covid-19 we just made deliveries to our schools and will rely on our amazing school teachers to send home our message. “ says Tony Blasick from Kootenai Fire Department.
As CDA Fire Department Captain Tom Hiltenbrand emphasized, “This project has become a wonderful tradition each year in our school districts. It starts the conversation at a young age about healthy choices and it really connects with our kids in the community. We have also found in emergency situations, where we desperately need their trust, the calendar has helped these interactions more successful as they recognize us.”
We hope that our students and their families enjoy the calendar and the great recipes and health tips it contains. Here’s to a safe and healthy 2021!