'Good to Go' Promotes Healthy Habits in Kids

ThedaCare Employees to Use Fun Events at Area Schools to Teach Students about Good Nutrition, Importance of Exercise

Area students will learn about good nutrition and physical activity through ThedaCare’s new Good to Go initiative.

From April 27 to May 1, ThedaCare employees will volunteer at six Northeast Wisconsin schools offering a variety of activities that promote healthy habits in students. Berlin schools will participate the following week, May 4 to May 8.

“Obesity is a common health issue throughout all the areas served by ThedaCare and Good to Go tackles that issue head-on,” said Jean BlaneyMcGinnis, coordinator of community health for ThedaCare.

By teaching students about healthy lifestyles at a young age, they’re more likely to carry healthy habits into their teenage years and adulthood, said Theresa Smith, a fifth-grade teacher at New London Intermediate School.

“At this young age, kids still listen to us, but they’re old enough to understand the implications of poor health,” she said. “The Good to Go week activities, like energy breaks and healthy snacks, will get kids excited about making healthier choices.”

The ideas for the activities came directly from school leaders, BlaneyMcGinnis said. ThedaCare employees met with representatives from schools in Shawano, Waupaca, New London, Oshkosh, Berlin and the Fox Cities to identify areas of significant need and picked activities that would benefit students the most. The plan is to rotate schools each year so ThedaCare employee volunteers can reach thousands of children over time.

Jami Kohl, principal of Franklin Elementary School in Appleton, hopes students will share what they’ve learned with their families. Most schools will also have a family night food demonstration with ThedaCare chefs that will share different healthy recipes parents can use at home, she said.

 “Good to Go week is not only for our students, but for their parents and families as well,” Kohl said. “We thank ThedaCare and all of its employees who are willing to volunteer to make this happen for our kids.”

ThedaCare employees will volunteer through the organization’s Helping Hearts program. Paula Morgen, manager of community health improvement, said many will help before or after their regular work shifts. She said ThedaCare’s Intranet will have a list of specific volunteer activities at different times that employees can sign up for.

“Not only is Good to Go week a chance to impact the community, it’s a way to relieve stress and have fun,” Morgen said. “During this crazy time in health care, volunteering helps us feel good and adds to the culture at ThedaCare.”

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of seven hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, ThedaCare Medical Center-New London, Shawano Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca, Berlin Memorial Hospital, and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare At Home. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,800 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.