The U.S. is home to many national treasures- Yosemite National Park, Shawnee National Forest, the Washington Monument to name a few. Thinking about these gems makes me reflect on our greatest national treasure-our children.

Jean engaging with kids at Summit 5

We all have hopes and dreams for our children and want what is best for them. So I would like to pose a few questions. Take a moment and answer them to yourself…

  1. Do you believe that when a child eats healthful foods and is regularly active, s/he learns better?
  2. Do you believe that our children should have access to nutrient-rich, tasty and kid appealing food?
  3. When children walk into school, should they have plenty of opportunities to be active and get the healthy foods they need?

I am going to venture a guess that most of you answered “yes” to these questions. Isn’t that what we all want for all children?

Providing our youth with healthful foods and regular activity will help them not only to survive, but thrive and give them the chance to grow, to learn and to achieve. The combination of improved nutrition and regular physical activity is what we know as – The Learning Connection.

If our youth are ready to learn, then we are giving them the ability to succeed as students. And better students today, make them stronger workers tomorrow.

Jean engaging with kids at Summit 6

A big part of the Learning Connection equation is how students start their day- meaning eating breakfast. Breakfast is an essential tool, like a textbook, needed for successful learning.

With nearly 16 million children going hungry each day, schools may be one of the only places some children can get a nutritious breakfast, making school meals a lifeline for many youth. Every child should have the opportunity to eat breakfast. Universal breakfast and innovative programs like grab and go or breakfast in the classroom are so great options for schools to consider implementing.

Fuel Up To Play 60 is another program that is making a positive impact on children. Not only does it weave together nutrition and physical activity, it engages the students as ambassadors to help lead the charge at their schools. In fact, since its inception in 2009, more than 13 million students are now eating better and 16 million are now more physically active. Talk about being a change agent!

Our children are treasures and our future. Together, we can start to help give them a fighting chance for a better future.

Jean with her kids