School & Community News

HNW connects with parents outside the classroom
February 21, 2024

After 20 years of working to increase children’s health awareness and understanding, Healthy NewsWorks is piloting a new program to spread that knowledge to families outside the classroom.  

Ginger Ragland, a veteran teacher who joined Healthy NewsWorks three years ago as a program associate, recently helped organize a healthy snacking family workshop at Cole Manor Elementary School in the Norristown Area School District. The workshop, the first of its kind, was led by Amy Deahl-Greenlaw, R.D.N., who has worked with Healthy NewsWorks for a number of years.  

“The purpose was to engage parents in various healthy recipes—allow them to try it, see how easy it is reading some nutritional labels,” Ginger said. “The parents did the taste test, and then we invited their children to join the taste test as well.”  

The workshop proved to be a success. “Several of them asked ‘Could we do another one? Could we come back?’ ” Ginger said. 

One parent at the workshop was excited to receive Healthy Snacks and Quick Bites: A Recipe Book for Kids, a healthy recipe book co-created by Healthy NewsWorks and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Another parent was “pleasantly thrilled” to see that the workshop helped her child go from having a noted dislike of cucumbers to liking them.   

The workshop is an extension of Healthy NewsWorks’ mission to reach as many individuals and groups as possible to help foster healthy living, even in communities where fresh food may be scarce.  

“Sometimes, parents will listen to things that their children learn and try to make changes to benefit their children,” Ginger said. “Especially when their children are excited about it. So using the children as a conduit to share healthy information is a positive way to encourage families, and they’re more likely to sustain those activities over time.” 

Ginger and her colleagues at Healthy NewsWorks hope workshop participants walk away with new insights on easy steps they can take to encourage healthful living. 

“We don’t use any exotic ingredients or anything fancy to make this work,” she said. “We just use everyday ingredients and everyday materials that will hopefully make it a little bit easier and a little more fun for parents and students to look for ways to eat healthier and be healthier.” 

If you know of a school that might be interested in hosting a workshop, contact Ginger Ragland at gragland@healthynewsworks.org

By Candace C. Smith, Healthy NewsWorks Communication Associate

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.