Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board - Lanaudière CLC
Joliette Elementary School, one of three Lanaudière CLC schools, runs a Healthy Snack Program for its 226 students. Students are bussed in from 26 different municipalities and many are on the school bus for up to 2.5 or 3 hours. Many students are in need of a nutritious snack to get the school day started or at the end of the day before the long bus ride home. The Healthy Snack Program provides them a free, healthy snack every day of the week.
Unfortunately, a lack of available volunteers made running this program difficult at times and recruiting parent volunteers was challenging. The CLC found a potential solution, and working with the special education technician at Joliette High School, started to reorganize the Healthy Snack Program at the elementary school. The solution? The program would become a ‘stage’ placement for two special needs WOTP students. It was a a win-win for both schools.
The students started by creating a presentation for the Elementary school staff, to explain how the Healthy Snack Program would now work and to introduce themselves.
The two students decide what the healthy snacks will be each week, shop for the food, manage the budget received from a Metro Green Apple Grant, unload the food at the elementary school, collect and clean the distribution bins, then, using class lists, distribute the snacks, all the while paying close attention to any food allergies the Elementary students may have. They also created "Healthy Snack" posters that were put up around the elementary school.
“The students love to see Emma and Jeremy! They can’t wait to see them and talk with them. They are both so kind. Our students always ask if it’s a Healthy Snack Day!” JES teacher
Staff at both schools agree that the WOTP students are doing an amazing job while gleaning valuable life skills. They are learning how to manage money, about healthy eating, developing social skills, and learning about community involvement.
This project has created a sense of belonging to the school and the community for the WOTP students, they feel they are making a difference and that others appreciate their contribution. They look forward going out on their stage every week.
This has created a partnership between the two schools that didn’t previously exist.“I think it’s so wonderful that these 2 students have the chance to go out there and connect with other people and feel valued. They are learning, their self-esteem is growing but they don’t even realize the impact they are having. I see the effect they have on the little ones with their kindness and their smiles. These young children are developing an open minded vision of their world and inclusiveness will become second nature to them.” Special Education Technician