I WILL make a difference.

This is a very spontaneous blog post in the middle of the day on a Tuesday, but I have so many thoughts in my head right now that I just have to get them out. This is as much a journal entry for myself as it is an announcement to my blog readers.

I am doing something that scares me. It’s not worth doing if it isn’t a challenge, right? Well here goes.

Oklahoma is one of the top states for obesity. According to a report in 2012, it ranked 43rd out of 50 (with 50 being the worst), which is up from where it was in 2011 at the 46th worst state. We can not afford to let the trend of obesity continue. I have two children, and I vow to raise them to be healthy adults so they don’t have to struggle with their weight, their body image, or their health.

Unfortunately, not every child has a parent with that mindset. Not every child has a parent who cooks healthy meals every night (or even most nights), or who encourages physical activity and sports. Even our schools, both public and private, have lunches and snacks that do not give our kids the nutrition they need, nor do they encourage healthy eating habits for the future.

As a teacher, I am saying right now that I WILL make a difference in the lives of my students. I am paid to teach core curriculum, and I am paid to make sure that my students get the education they need to be successful in subsequent grades. But I’m not stopping there. I’m going to also teach them about healthy food choices. I’m going to encourage them to be active. I’m going to invite them to run one-milers and 5k races with me outside of school. I’m going to find SOME WAY to get them active in my own classroom. We will have a time during the day to get our heart rates up. What child is going to perform well in class if they are tired or falling asleep anyway?! Getting their blood moving can only help them to perform better academically – which is a win-win for all of us. Here’s some more info on that.

That doesn’t sound scary, you might be thinking. Well it’s not. But for me, this is:

Some of you may have seen me post on Facebook about going to see Shaun T in September. I’ve registered to attend SHAUNTERVENTION, and I am SUPER stoked about going. But now I am excited for a different reason – Shaun is having a model face contest for all of the SHAUNTERVENTION participants, and I am about to enter. Still not scary? Well this is my goal – I want to win. And I don’t want to win for me; I want to win for these kids. My hope, my dream, is that I will win this contest. Shaun and his crew will choose ME and use MY face as the next model for Shaun T Fitness. I want my students in my class, my school, my DISTRICT to say, “Wow, look at her! She’s a teacher! And she got recognized by Shaun T because she exercises and is healthy every day! I want to be like THAT! I want to exercise and get to meet Shaun T too!” I want to INSPIRE these kids, their parents, their teachers. I want my ENTIRE SCHOOL DISTRICT to say, “Hey – this could be a great thing here. Let’s take it and roll with it to get these kids healthy.” We have a new superintendent this year, and one of his areas of focus is to have fit and healthy kids. Well, Mr. Superintendent, I want to focus on that too! I would LOVE to be a part of getting our kids and our community more healthy. We need to turn this obesity trend around and get Oklahoma to the TOP of the list of states for fitness!

So that’s my plan. I may only be taking a picture of myself and sending it in, but my area of reach could multiply drastically if I actually get chosen. Regardless, I will be making an impact in my own classroom, and with everyone I possibly can. I will always encourage healthy choices. But the bigger the reach, the more lives I can change. And that will forever be my goal.

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