How do you more than double breakfast participation in an at-risk middle school? How do you get vulnerable middle school kids participating in before- and after-school activity programs? At Arlington Middle School in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the answer has been impressively simple: Put the kids in charge. With strong support from administration and school foodservice, a dedicated group of 12 middle school students (and their PE teacher/advisor) have implemented an incredibly successful Fuel Up To Play 60 program.
I've talked about FUTP60 here before for three important reasons:
- FUTP60 focuses on student led changes: This is a different model than most school health improvements where adult staff (and sometimes parents) decide what is right for kids.
- FUTP60 combines positive nutrition and fun activity: Kids want to know what to eat (rather than what to avoid) and they want to have fun moving in a non-threatening environment.
- FUTP60 has a strong support system: As partnership of National Dairy Council and the NFL, FUTP60 brings both solid health education techniques and star power to local schools.
The Lawrence middle school students pictured here really do hold the keys to a healthy future in their hands.