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RO Student Addresses Agents of Change Summit
RO Student Addresses Agents of Change Summit
Posted on 02/10/2016

UCDSB Student Speaks at
Agents of Change Summit

By Mark Calder

(Toronto) – Kiera Coulter’s ideas could help shape the future of school breakfast programs across the province.

The 17-year-old Rothwell-Osnabruck School (RO) student was one of only 11 student ambassadors invited to speak at the Agents of Change Summit Monday in Toronto. The morning conference, organized by The Grocery Foundation in partnership with the Ontario Student Nutrition Program Network, allowed students to inform school breakfast program, retail and food industry officials about ways to improve school nutrition programs. Organizers will use the input to increase student engagement with these programs, to raise awareness and to generate financial support. The summit was also held as part of the Grocery Foundation’s Toonies for Tummies campaign which is raising funds to support school nutrition programs.

“It was really interesting because the students who spoke were from very diverse backgrounds,” said Coulter of the experience. “It was nice to hear about where they came from and what they’ve been doing at their schools.

“And having so many important people there from large corporations to share my ideas with was uplifting.”

Coulter spoke to the business crowd about a smoothie program she has introduced at RO which provides low-cost, nutritious smoothies to students over the lunch hour – a healthy alternative to the fast food or prepackaged food many students eat for lunch.

Like other students at the summit, she recommended more public awareness campaigns for youth to spread the message about the importance of eating well, and its connection to academic success.

“It not only helps students feel better, it helps with their learning potential,” said Coulter. “It just makes everyone feel so much more alive and awake and enthusiastic about being in school.

“Have a smoothie, it’s easy, it’s quick, it’s sweet and it tastes good.”

Other suggestions from students included:

· Encourage greater involvement of students in delivering healthy breakfast and lunch programs so they learn more about the value of eating well.

· Offer a wider variety of breakfast and lunch programs catering to an array of needs – such as vegetarian snacks and meals, gluten-free fare, multicultural food, and menus that meet the needs of diabetics.

· Encourage corporate Canada to share information about student-led nutrition initiatives through their social media channels. The hope is that successful programs will spread to other schools.

Organizers of the summit will now work on ways to implement recommendations from the event.

For more information, please call:

Ewen McIntosh
Rothwell-Osnabruck School
(613) 537-2454

Gabby Nobrega
Communications Officer
The Grocery Foundation
(416) 930-9756

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