Garden Project Teaching Donna ISD Students Healthy Habits

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DONNA - A partnership between two Rio Grande Valley entities are teaching elementary students the importance of eating healthy. 

Donna ISD and the University of Rio Grande Valley Border Health Office partnered up to form the CHECK Plus! Program, which stands for Creating Healthy Eating Choices for Kids. 

All 14 Donna ISD elementary schools have built gardens and approximately 1,200 4th grade students were part of the effort.

"First was the nutrition education which we just completed. The second was the construction of the gardens, and then the last will be - actually what we're going to do is follow these 4th graders into 5th grade next fall, and what we are going to do with them is create what we're calling nutrition creation stations," UTRGV Border Health Office director Doreen Garza said. 

Garza said they're going to be able to create their own tasty salads and smoothies. She hopes the healthy eating education goes beyond the classroom. 

"You know, we feel like 4th grade has been such a great age and group to work with because they can absorb the messages, and then they can take it home and pass it on to their siblings and parents," she said. 

Nancy Camacho is a diabetic parent whose son is in the program. She said she now understands the importance of prevention. 

"I want him to start exercising a little bit more. Eating healthier because all this, of course, comes back to the diabetes, and since he is coming from the background I want him to stop it before he even gets it," Camacho said.
Her son, Jaydon, said he wants to create his own garden at home. 

"It's really inspiring, you can different things. It's another thing that's fun," he said. 

Donna ISD Health and Services director Rosa Maria Campos explained they are forming habits for the future. 

"So, if we are able to teach the child to eat healthier, then of course, we are reducing the incident of diabetes in this area especially," she said. 

Campos said the win comes from seeing children choose an apple over potato chips. 

Campos added parents should allow their children to create their own gardens at home. They said it helps the family eat healthier while saving money. 


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