Friday, April 28, 2017

PS 443 Students Offer a Heart-Healthy Approach to Fundraising

Family School PS 443 Valentine’s Day healthy fundraiser successfully raised $56 and, more importantly, had 60 students and several teachers make healthy food choices that day. When Cara Plott, a Food Corps member working at the school, first proposed the healthy fundraiser idea to the student council leaders this past January, the students were very enthusiastic and supportive. Four students on the student council organized and promoted the event with the help of Kerryann Torres, the School Counselor and with assistance from Cara.

For some people, the word “fundraiser” may be synonymous with a cornucopia of sugary, unhealthy foods, but it doesn’t have to be this way! The key to a successful fundraiser is to sell a product that people really want to buy. As the students thought about what healthy items they wanted to provide at the fundraiser, they sought the advice of a teacher, Isabel Gonzalez who brought in fruits instead of candy as a reward for her class one day which was enthusiastically received by her students.

The students decided to present the healthy products in a colorful and engaging way, and packaged the fruits in heart-strewn bags with clever Valentine’s Day puns, such as “You are the Raisin I’m smiling.” Also, the Family School/PS 443 created colorful posters promoting the healthy fundraiser and the teachers overwhelmingly supported the idea. The student council members were thrilled that they made so much money by selling healthy snacks, and plan to replicate this activity at a future fundraiser.

"The event was truly a great experience,” said Kerryann Torres. “The healthy heart fundraiser really helped our kids see that we do not always have to give unhealthy snacks as treats or gifts for occasions such as Valentine's Day. The students were really excited to gift fruits such as apples and oranges. I was especially surprised at the number of children who wanted to buy craisins and raisins! There is so much more than what you see in the corner store and I am glad the healthy heart fundraiser was able to expose our kids to healthy snacks."

Healthy fundraisers, such as this one, will help the Family School/PS 443 fully implement its wellness policy, which does not permit the consumption of unhealthy snacks during the school day. By surrounding students with healthy choices during lunch, snack time, and at special events, students receive a consistent message that healthy foods are an all-around good thing, which encourages them to make more healthful choices in the future.

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