9/19/11: First Shot
By Steve Baumann, President
In the 5th annual C.S. Mott Children's Hospital (Ann Arbor, Michigan) National Poll on Children's Health, adults rate drug abuse and childhood obesity as the top health concerns and "big problems" for children. The top ten concerns include: childhood obesity 33%, drug abuse 33%, smoking and tobacco use 25%, teen pregnancy 24%, bullying 24%, Internet safety 23%, stress 22%, alcohol abuse 20%, driving accidents 20%, and sexting 20%. As an organization committed to supporting the personal growth and development of young people, we are keenly aware of how these health issues have the potential to interrupt and side-track their aspirations. We are working diligently to make sure this doesn't happen.
We continue to revise and augment our soccer and nutrition activities to better deliver understanding about the relationship between physical activity, healthy eating, and obesity. We are hopeful that we will soon receive a grant that will enable us to include healthy snacks as part of every winter session. We never provide sugary drinks, and with our new water fountains we will also supply reusable water containers to our participants. We intend to "walk the walk" as part of our nutrition initiatives.
Drug, tobacco, and alcohol use is a topic we talk about and discuss with our Senior and Junior Leaders. The National Latino Health Organization at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has been an important partner in providing compelling lessons and activities to our Senior Leaders about the deleterious effects of controlled substances. Their presentations are right on target for our participants and drive home the message in ways that connect with the audience.
For the past two years we have also leveraged the presence of our excellent computer lab to create activities and projects that use technology and the emerging social media. We discuss the proper and positive uses of technology and create a forum where participants can discuss the abuses they see happening online. This year we will be enhancing the use of Twitter and Facebook as the primary vehicles for communication with our Senior Leaders. I look forward to reporting on that effort as it gets underway.
We are confident that even faced with these tremendous community health concerns, young people at Starfinder will find both a safe harbor and a learning environment that helps strengthen them to resist and overcome the challenges they face.