Greece Police Officers join forces with students from English Village Elementary School on the “Healthy Highway”!

By on March 24, 2015
Kayleigh Wilson with Officer Todd Gumaer and a full tray of healthy food choices for lunch.

Kayleigh Wilson with Officer Todd Gumaer and a full tray of healthy food choices for lunch.

Healthy Highway is an ongoing program in the Greece Elementary schools that helps teach kids about healthy nutrition and active lifestyles. The program was designed by Physical Education Specialist Wendy Cooper, to empower children to make healthy choices in their diet and lifestyle.

On January 30, 2015, an assembly took place at the English Village School to kick off the fun and positive partnership of the Healthy Highway Program between the students and the Greece Police officers.  The goal of this combined effort is to increase connectivity of the community outreach of the Greece Police Department and the district’s elementary school students, by uniting both the students and officers with commitments to healthy living.  Officers will come in, often during lunchtime and at special assemblies, to discuss why it is so important that they keep their “engines strong” with healthy choices.  Regular informal visits will take place during lunchtime, where the Police officers will eat and chat with the kids, as well as fun assemblies and in-school challenges.

During the week of March 9, 2015, the kids went head to head with Officer Todd Gumaer, Officer Eric Hughes and Sgt. Jared René on a 500 Healthy Choice Challenge.  The challenge will conclude with a celebration that will take place as the officers serve foods named after them. In April, a special visit from the police dog “Chip” will take place so that the students can see how important it is for Chip to stay healthy too.

The program has been received with a lot of enthusiasm and many smiles from the children.  Wendy Cooper says that she is asked frequently when the Greece Police Officers will be coming back.

Sergeant Jared René of the Community Services Division of the Greece Police Department felt strongly about working with Wendy Cooper on the Healthy Highway program because he felt working with the younger children in the community made sense.  He liked the interactive format of the program and the ability to reach young children with regular dialogue.

Students, Gage P., 6, Aiden H., 6, and Mady T., 5, pose with Greece Police Officers, Sergeant Jared René (left) and Officer Todd Gumaer (kneeling right), in front of the promise board.

Students, Gage P., 6, Aiden H., 6, and Mady T., 5, pose with Greece Police Officers, Sergeant Jared René (left) and Officer Todd Gumaer (kneeling right), in front of the promise board.

René says, “One of our goals in Greece Police Department Community Services, is to begin a positive relationship with children in the Greece community at an early age. Healthy Highway gives us this opportunity and bridges the gap between the police world and elementary aged school children. As policemen and women, we know the importance of healthy eating, exercise and nutrition. These areas of our lifestyles affect our health and our ability to perform our jobs at a high level. We want to impress these concepts on the kids through our examples, interactions and influence, so that we may foster positive relationships with the children and most significantly teach them about the importance of daily healthy choices.”

This program is being launched at English Village Elementary School as a pilot program, and both the school and the Greece Police are looking forward to the program growing

Photos by Tom Parsons

Aide H., 6, enjoying his lunch of healthy choices.

Aide H., 6, enjoying his lunch of healthy choices.

Gage P., 6, sharing an orange smile.

Gage P., 6, sharing an orange smile.

Sergeant René enjoys teaching about healthy choices, while talking to and listening to the students.

Sergeant René enjoys teaching about healthy choices, while talking to and listening to the students.

The promise board is signed by the students committing them to eating healthy by making healthy choices.

The promise board is signed by the students committing them to eating healthy by making healthy choices.

 Sincere J. exits the lunch line proudly showing his healthy choices.

Sincere J. exits the lunch line proudly showing his healthy choices.

Wendy Cooper, Founder of the Healthy Highway Program, talks with students about healthy choices.

Wendy Cooper, Founder of the Healthy Highway Program, talks with students about healthy choices.