Buffalo Grove High athletes launch healthy-living initiative
It's not unusual to see brown bags hanging from the hallway ceiling at Buffalo Grove High School (BGHS).
The brown bags represent the program in which students there can get an after-school meal containing healthy food items. The program is part of ELEVATE, a healthy-lifestyle system that the school has implemented. A photo of the bags and the options of food they can contain are on the group's Twitter feed.
ELEVATE began in a presentation given by human-performance scientist John Underwood through the Link Together Coalition last fall at the Forest View Educational Center, according to Buffalo Grove Boys Athletic Director Kip North in an interview with the Lake County Gazette. School-district staff members and some area coaches attended the presentation.
North said Underwood has worked with Olympic athletes, as well as professional-sports teams such as the Miami Heat and college programs. Underwood's presentation shows the sciences behind proper training, diet and sleep, and the damage drugs and alcohol can do to performance for high-school athletes.
Seeing value in Underwood's presentation, he was brought back again in the spring at BGHS and spoke to approximately 600 students participating in the athletic programs. Underwood also spoke individually with students selected by coaches and talked about a summer program offered in Lake Placid, New York. The school was able to send eight students to the multi-day program.
“That was really the point I think when that group of eight kids said, 'We can do this, we can provide an opportunity for kids in our building to recognize and understand and have a positive impact on making good, life-healthy choices and positively impact the culture of our building and the culture of some of our athletic programs,'” North said.
The students came back from Lake Placid and met with the school's food-services department about what food options were available and worked on ways to make other students more aware of those options. The brown-bag program, in which the brown-bagged meals cost $5, emerged from that to give students an alternative to getting fast food after school. Also through ELEVATE, dozens of students have signed contracts committing themselves to being a good teammate, making healthy choices and holding each other accountable, North said.
North called the program “an appeal to an ideal.”
“I think that that, in a really succinct way, (crystallizes) what our kids are interested in trying to encourage their peers to consider,” North said.
The BGHS students in the program have begun reaching out to the school district's middle and elementary schools and interacting with younger students. That was an initiative the high-school students took on themselves, North said, reinforcing that it's a student-led program. North also said such impacts from peer-to-peer interaction have proven to be more successful than adult-to-teen interaction.
“The kids that are part of our current group understand that,” North said. “They understand that it's their responsibility, and up to this point, although it's been a relatively short run having just kind of begun in July since we came back from Lake Placid, it's been spectacular in every way. The kids have done a brilliant job in the things they've accomplished up to this point.”