PIQUA — It takes a village to raise a child, and the city of Piqua is no different.
The Piqua Central Intermediate School (PCIS) Wellness Program recognized community contributors this week, thanking them for their support in helping students work toward the best versions of themselves through providing health and safety lessons.
“I truly believe personal wellness is accomplished best as a community,” Wellness Program instructor Lynn Schemmel said.
This was the second year for the Wellness Program and the first year it was tailored to include community contributors. Community organizations responded to calls to impart their knowledge on specialized topics to help kids learn about their overall personal wellness.
“The community response has been amazing,” Schemmel said.
The Piqua Fire Department spent nine hours in the classroom with over 250 students explaining the importance of home fire safety. Schemmel explained how the fire department showed students statistics of home fires as well as explaining how to plan ahead and prepare a home escape plan for possible fire emergencies, the importance of practicing a home escape plan, and the importance of having and maintaining smoke alarms.
The PROTECT unit at the Piqua Police Department spent 27 hours in the classroom teaching over 800 students about topics related to police officer familiarization and gun safety. Officers from the police department, including Officer Brett Marrs, explained the role of police officers in the community as well as the purpose of the different tools that police officers carry around. The police department also presented the Eddie Eagle gun safety program, which taught kids not to touch guns if they find one, but to go and tell an adult instead.
Marrs also touched on the importance of perseverance in the face of failure. He showed the students examples of successful, famous figures in history who had previously failed at some point in their lives, saying, “Everyone fails at some point in time. It’s what you do when you fail that makes the difference.”
PCIS also recognized Walmart for donating $1,025 worth of food to the Wellness Program. Once a week, Schemmel brought in food from Walmart to help the students learn about what foods belong in which food groups, why and how to properly wash hands before handling food, why and how to properly wash fruits and vegetables, and how to make or prepare healthy food options.
“This has been an amazing hands-on learning experience for the students,” Schemmel said.
For example, students made homemade ranch dressing and compared it to ready-made, store-bought dressing. They cut their own peppers, Schemmel said. The students also learned about portion sizes.
“We did guess the milk,” Schemmel said, referring to the students trying different kinds of milk without knowing which was which. “They had to guess what is what … it was neat.”
Schemmel also tried to find foods that maybe only half of the class had tried and that maybe only half of the class would like, such as pears, plums, sweet peppers, and so on. Schemmel explained that this gave them the opportunity to try foods the students might not normally try and it also gave them different healthy food options.
“It was nice that it all came from Walmart,” Schemmel said.
Since all of the food was from the local Walmart store, the students knew that these foods were not a one-time opportunity for them and that they could incorporate them into their daily lives if they worked their parents on what they wanted. Schemmel was also able to send students home with the recipes that they used to create other meals.
The Miami County Dental Clinic also spent 18 hours in the classroom teaching over 500 students the importance of oral hygiene.
“Each student was given a goody bag with floss, toothpaste, and a toothbrush,” Schemmel said.
Schemmel said that some of the topics included the importance of brushing and flossing, how to brush and floss, the dangers that certain foods — pops, sticky foods, coffee, tobacco — present to oral health, and the frequency someone should see a dentist.
“I believe students need to see the many different parts of this fantastic community that contribute to their well-being on a daily basis,” Schemmel said. “They also need to understand where they themselves fit in to create a wellness environment only in their own life, but also in the lives of the people in their community. The community response to this program has been amazing.
“Furthermore, my hope is that as this program, grows, the community involvement will grow as well.”
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336