Club offers a healthy start

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013 09:58 am

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A foothills charity is giving students a good start to their school day.

The Boys and Girls Club of Diamond Valley initiated the Good Morning Breakfast Club in September to provide school-aged children with nutritious food to fill up on before classes begin that they otherwise might not get. The program is free and offered in upper level of the Oilfields Regional Arena in Black Diamond.

Selections include eggs, toast, granola, yogurt, fruit and homemade pancakes and waffles rather than less healthy options such as energy bars and sugar cereal, said the club’s operations manager Mady Thiel-Kopstein.

“Healthy kids are able to concentrate better (on a healthier diet) so we’re trying to promote and support the health and wellness of children and youth in the community,” she said.

The new breakfast program operates in conjunction with the before school program, which also began in September.

The Club was one of seven youth organizations and initiatives in the region to receive a charitable donation from the National Bank of Canada, which supports youth organizations across the country. The club received $15,000.

Thiel-Kopstein said the club applied for the funding in May hoping for financial assistance to kick-start their healthy breakfast program, but when they hadn’t heard back by the end of August they decided to go ahead anyway.

The club used money donated by other support groups in the community, but Thiel-Kopstein said the additional $15,000 is a full-sized helping they can definitely use and should last them into February.

The Good Morning Breakfast Club isn’t just about helping families who can’t afford to provide their children with a healthy breakfast in the morning. Thiel-Kopstein said the program is also about lending a hand to families with other challenges including parents who begin work before their children get up for school or are rushing out the door last minute because their child slept in or spent a few minutes completing a homework assignment instead of eating breakfast.

“Everyone rushes out the door,” she said. “A lot of people don’t have time.”

Thiel-Kopstein said children are welcome as early as 7 a.m. The program is open to all children and youth attending school and there is no cost involved. She just asks parents to contact the club if their child will use the program to ensure they have enough food prepared to feed everyone in attendance.

Although the program is going into its fourth month, Thiel-Kopstein is concerned it isn’t reaching the large portion of children and teens who could benefit from it.

“Our numbers are a little bit lower than we would like,” she said. “The average is 10 kids.”

Club members are trying to get the word out to families through school newsletters, she said.

“I think it’s a lack of knowledge,” she said. “It’s a new thing and people have to hear from other people that it’s great.”

Thiel-Kopstein said she knows adding the Good Morning Breakfast Club into the morning routine can be a challenge, but she encouraged families to try it out.


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