Thursday, June 20, 2013

For the kids!

The Summer Food Service Program sites have finally got underway as this week I have had the privilege of visiting the locations to do reviews and interact with the children. It's been long overdue, as during the past two weeks Jackie Cundiff, the Children's Program Manager here at FASWVA, and I have been going to sites to train the members of the partnering agencies that will be acting as the site supervisors. Needless to say, it has been a time filled with a lot of driving and explanation of materials. So let me share one of the more exciting highlights of this week and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

Connections Program at Price's Fork Elementary-Blacksburg, VA
I had the opportunity to visit Price's Fork on Tuesday morning and visit the Connections Program which is specifically geared for children to keep them active over the summer through educational activities and games while also creating a time for them to make new friends. The group that I interacted with had children in kindergarten up to 6th grade. When I got there they were enjoying their snack provided by Feeding America Southwest Virginia and I was sure to ask them if they liked it and many of them spoke up and said that it was quite good. This summer we recieved new vendors for the food service programs and so it has provided us with more and better options for the kids. We want the kids to eat but at the same time we want them to enjoy the food as well - something that I am sure all of you can agree with - everyone loves good food! During snack we watched an episode of the Magic School Bus which had a focus on bats so this provided the supervisors with a great segue after the snack to talk about bats. The kids were super fascinated with the echo location ability of bats - where they use sound waves to see instead of using their eyes. From there we moved to the computer lab to focus on the learning objective for the week: Character. The children were tasked to pick their favorite fictional hero from a book or movie and then do research on their character traits and make it into a short presentation that they would give to the class. It was fun to hear about the characters that the kids chose, one young boy chose the Hulk because he liked how he was so strong. Another young boy who loved to laugh chose Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean, a fitting choice as Jack Sparrow could provide for a lot of laughs. The supervisor asked me to pick a character and share it with the kids and so I chose Sully from Monsters, Inc. for his bravery and willingness to always look out for his friends...the kids loved it!

It was a great experience to see kids having fun and learning whether it was about bats, the character traits of their favorite hero, or computer technology in general. Even with all of the fun and knowledge being shared it was also wonderful to see the kids being fed. I could see that these children were learning a lot and were constantly taking in new experiences and the food is an important piece for them in that development of leading healthy and exciting lives. What experiences have you had with child hunger?

The entryway of Price's Fork Elementary, definitely a fun and exciting place full of sensory objects and color. If I was still in elementary school this is where I would want to be!

This experience is just a taste of what is to come as I have visits to multiple Vacation Bible Schools at churches across the area, along with the Summer Enrichment Program and Big Brothers Big Sisters of southwest Virginia in Roanoke in addition to many more. So stay tuned and get ready for some more exciting times. If you have any experiences with children at school, in sports, or in an organization I would love to hear about them, please comment!   

For more information on our children's programs take a look at our page at

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