A Look in the Rear View Mirror with Healthy Kids Challenge
August 9, 2012
So many times we celebrate pinnacle moments in our career or life, but when it comes to kids, each day is a joy and worth celebrating! Next summer will mark the 15th year of Healthy Kids Challenge® as a national nonprofit dedicated to helping kids and families eat healthy and move more, but that is just too far away for me to wait for celebration!
So, today I took a look in the rear view mirror of HKC. It all started when my dear friend and colleague, and assistant director for Healthy Kids Challenge, Claudia Hohnbaum, MA, RD, LD, encouraged me to write a letter to the editor of Cooking Light, and share with him my vision for helping kids be fit and ready to learn, to truly be the very best they could be. The rest is history.
Soon after that letter was sent, I received a phone call and an invitation to interview for a position to “help Cooking Light reach 100’s of schools and 1000’s of children”. I got the job, and the Cooking Light Healthy Kids Challenge was born! That vision so exceeded expectations that after three years we had completely outgrown what was started as a reader project for the magazine, and Healthy Kids Challenge became an independent nonprofit!
We have never lost that vision of bringing people across the nation together to make a healthy difference one kid at a time. HKC was the first national distance assistance school program, and with help from CIGNA, we blazed the trail for helping schools.
Today, with a staff of registered dietitians and a host of KidLinks across the U.S., families and kids are learning that active living and healthier eating choices can be appealing. Schools and youth programs are finding ways to add movement through the day, and integrate learning that motivates and provides skills leading to healthier habits. Communities are finding ways to support people to make being healthy easier.
The HKC footprint is now in all 50 states with trainings, consultation services, educational materials, newsletters, website, and e-mail support. Are we done? Not by a long shot! We still have the vision that the day will come when kids and families have healthy food choices and opportunities to be active in all their every day places from school to home and beyond! Enough reflection, we have work to do! Zoom ahead for healthy kids!