Ms Stephanie Cini teaches media literacy and is the Special Education Teacher at Selwyn Elementary School. Ms Cini has been a huge champion of healthy living, and partnered with the Healthy Kids Community Challenge to bring Recess Revival to her school community. To encourage students to be more active at recess, a team of Healthy Kids Peer Leaders visited 9 participating schools in the East End to run various games and activities, fostering co-operative play and positive behaviour on the playground.

As part of the program, a team of volunteer Student Ambassadors from Selwyn Elementary School were identified and trained by the Peer Leaders to help lead activities for the younger grades. Younger students were looking forward to meeting their Student Ambassadors so they could join in the fun activities, which also promoted wellness, and a greater sense of community and belonging. The younger students were excited to become student ambassadors one day too! This program is dependent on the support of a keen teacher at each school and we would like to send Ms Cini a very special thank you for dedicating her time to Recess Revival!

At the end of the last school year, Ms Cini also worked with HKCC Danforth-East York to help us officially launch Choose to Boost Veggies & Fruit by donating a tower garden that can be used to grow food right in the school! The tower garden provides an opportunity for students to see food grow right in front of their eyes in a hands on way, learn more about the food cycle and spark discussions about nutrition.

“I love that Healthy Kids brought our entire school together to participate in the launch. They were inspired and excited about the program and what it had to offer.” – Ms Stephanie Cini

Ms Cini thinks that access to information is often a major barrier to living a healthy, active lifestyle and that there is a lot of misconceptions that being active or eating healthy is costly and time consuming. Media and advertising feed into these misconceptions, with unhealthier options and processed food made to look more appealing to kids. Providing accessible, hands on strategies for families is important to promote health and wellness. Kids learn at a young age, so it is important for us to continually model healthy choices ourselves as parents, coaches & teachers!

When asked how we can encourage kids in Danforth-East York to live a healthier lifestyle, Ms Cini advises to start eating healthy and exercising at a young age! Whether it’s active play during recess or sports, dance, extra-curricular activities, you are providing your body with the exercise it needs to gain strength and endurance! It doesn’t have to be structured and costly, movement of any sort where you are exerting energy is beneficial.

We’d like to extend a huge, huge THANK YOU to Ms Cini for all she has done with HKCC in the Selwyn Elementary School Community to foster healthy lifestyles in young people!