Georgia Children's Cabinet Promotes the SHAPE Initiative

September 15, 2014

Atlanta, GA- First Lady Deal and the Georgia Children’s Cabinet continued to support September’s Healthy Choices Month with a series of events that highlight the importance of Governor Deal’s SHAPE initiative. Beginning a tour of several Atlanta Public Schools, the First Lady and Cabinet visited Garden Hills Elementary School. Attendees were able to see firsthand the implementation of the SHAPE initiative’s “Power Up for 30” program, which educates teachers across the state in ways to implement an extra 30 minutes of exercise instruction per school day for students by incorporating interdisciplinary elements that tie together physical activity and academic achievement. First Lady Deal was able to watch a classroom participate in the Power Up for 30 activity, and the kids enjoyed the cardio activity that also worked on hand eye coordination.

The Burgess-Peterson Academy and their “We Dig BPA” program was visited next, which boasts an impressive 1,000 square foot organic gardening project for their students, all of whom plant a seed and visit the garden throughout the year. By incorporating every school subject into the collective tending of their garden, students are able to enjoy the benefits of growing, cooking, and eating healthy organic food while making connections to their academic work. From vegetables, herbs, fruit bushes, and trees, to egg-laying chickens, the Burgess-Peterson Academy is able to produce more than 150 pounds of food every school year. First Lady Deal also took time to read to classrooms during both school visits.

The First Lady and Children’s Cabinet also surveyed Crim High School’s “Power Up for 30” training program in the school’s gym, participating in the spirit of the Georgia SHAPE initiative’s educational focus on exercise.  First Lady Deal spoke to educators from several schools in the area who were being trained for the program, stressing the importance of their work in making physical activity a priority for Georgia’s students. Once the educators complete the training course at Crim High School, they will be able to spread the “Power Up for 30” campaign at their schools across state, in turn training and educating their teachers on the importance of including more physical activity in their daily curriculum.

The tour of events was completed with a visit to the Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, an urban farming project in the heart of Atlanta. In an effort to educate the community about the importance of agricultural skills and healthy diets, Truly Living Well serves Atlanta residents as a natural food oasis and fresh produce market every week. Every year the Truly Living Well Center produces over 25,000 pounds of food for local residents and restaurants, as well as diverting over 75 tons of waste from entering landfills and instead is used for natural compost. The Center’s outreach programs aim to educate local residents on the connection between diet and disease and how to make better nutritional choices on their daily lives. A yearly summer camp gives the children of Atlanta an opportunity to see exactly where their food comes from, how to grow and prepare it, and how to implement a healthy diet for a lifetime. The Truly Living Well Center also focuses on empowering low-income families by educating them in the variety of ways that better nutrition and food preparation can have a positive effect on the lives of their family.