Collaborative Learning: Parents and Kids Work Together to Stay Healthy!

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Posted February 24, 2012

Using the elements of the We Can!® program to teach families about healthy eating, physical activity, and reducing screen time, the Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic is dedicated to making families in Herndon, Virginia healthier.

In collaboration with the local YMCA, the clinic offers approximately 14 parents and children the opportunity to participate in a four-session, healthy lifestyle program. During these sessions parents learn from the We Can! Energize Our Families: Parent Program. Staff members at the clinic are also equipping them with grocery shopping tips, exercise routines, and alternate to screen time activities. And that's not all to the family affair—while the parents are in the classroom, children are hitting the gym! Weight trainers work with the kids on fitness routines and teach them about the importance of physical activity.

During the last half hour of the program, the parents and children are brought together to enjoy a healthy snack and discuss what they learned during their respective lessons and how they can apply their newfound knowledge and set a goal for themselves to accomplish that week.

"These classes are immensely popular. The fact that parents continue to come back week after week, shows what a success this is," states Lorraine Ondrasik, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Child Care Coordinator at the Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic. "We are able to provide them with one-on-one attention that ensures individualized accomplishments."

The Clinic plans to continue implementing We Can! program elements. They will soon begin to teach the Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active!® curriculum to expand the age range of youth participating in the programs, providing healthy lifestyle tips to even more community members.

Last Updated: February 13, 2013