Damien is a 3-year-old in a Dover school, which has a 3-4 year pre-school English Language Learner (ELL) program. Like his classmates, he is getting this extra support so he will have success in Kindergarten. His mom saw that Damien was eating a snack from NSTEP of pita and hummus, peppers, and grated carrots. She learned these foods will help build better brains and told the teacher that she never knew that her son would eat these foods, and because she’s on a limited budget, she wasn’t buying foods that she wasn’t sure Damien would eat. Now she knows he will, so she will buy them.
In these schools, with large numbers of low-income families, many cannot afford to waste money on food their children will not eat. Learning why this food will help Damien is key for his mom in helping make the choices that will give him the healthiest food and is an opportunity that NSTEP offers to many parents. We want parents to learn how to build better brains, so their children will be more successful in school, stay in school and graduate, a key strategy for poverty reduction.
In 2002 the World Health Organization stated that this is the first generation of children who will die before their parents of preventable nutritional diseases.
This was the inspiration for NSTEP – a grassroots school and community based program with a mission to educate and motivate children to EAT better WALK more LIVE longer.
WHY? 1.6 million Canadian children are overweight or obese-31% Let’s invest in prevention of chronic disease starting at a young age.
NSTEP is a “made in Calgary” registered charity that has grown into 3 different provinces, 12 different school districts impacting over 52,000 children from Jan. 2010 to June 30, 2019.
NSTEP programs include:
1. School – NSTEP uses a Professional Development model (train the trainer) to build sustainability and increase NSTEP’s capacity to impact more children, teachers and parents. The knowledge transfer to teachers is key for future students. NSTEP EAT WALK LIVE is for Elementary, NSTEP Teen Brain is the junior/senior high school populations.
2. Community- using school staff rooms, recreation facilities, YMCA or any place that has a kitchen sink. Our community program, Chef on NSTEP, teaches children to prepare food with skills such as peeling or cutting a carrot and not losing your finger. This complements the NSTEP school program giving children the skills to prepare healthy food for themselves and their families. Using food as a vehicle for language acquisition is a powerful way of re enforcing how healthy eating builds better brains, is delicious and LOW COST.
3. Employee Wellness- Teachers and early childhood workers tell us that they take the knowledge they have learned from NSTEP Professional Development to their families. NSTEP will take its content to where parents work with lunch and learn opportunities. Parents purchase the food for their families and they need to learn WHY healthy eating and activity will build better brains.
4. NSTEP Certificate- In June 2019 NSTEP became a school approved program in Fraser Health BC from Burnaby to Boston Bar, which contains 1.8 million residents. How can we transfer NSTEP knowledge to more and more people? That was the catalyst to create our NSTEP Certificate program and working with SAIT we are defining how we will do long distance live stream learning. This will have a bigger ripple effect, reaching more children and youth in rural Alberta and BC communities.
Reaching children and youth ages 4-18 is our primary focus. Over the past 4 years we have further focused on New Canadians and English Language Learners. In some Calgary communities these make up 53 to 67% of the student population. These children come from families of New Canadians and in many instances, the children are the translator for their parents, grandparents for the rest of their lives.
Join us in educating, mentoring, initiating NSTEP in more Calgary and area schools. Our full year program costs $24.00 per student, a TWOONIE a month.
If we had 12,000 people donate a TWOONIE a month that would bring NSTEP EAT WALK LIVE to 1,000 more children; if 24,000 people donated a TWOONIE a month that would mean 2,000 more children would have the benefits of NSTEP for a full year.
Donate on line at www.nstep.ca through Canada Helps
We could not help students become healthy without the generous financial support of all of our funders and stakeholders; from the bottom of our hearts, we THANK YOU for your support!