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Monday, February 4, 2013

Power of Choice at Thomson Elementary Part I: Limiting the junk food

This winter, DC SCORES intern Molly Fessler is spending time with the Thomson Tigers during the Power of Choice health and nutrition season. Each week, Molly is reporting on the activities the Tigers take part in as part of the winter curriculum and the progress the elementary school students make in learning how to take care of themselves and eat healthy. View a full gallery of pictures from Thomson on the DC SCORES Flickr page.


By Molly Fessler
DC SCORES intern

“This is harsh weather,” Mikyas A. tells me, as he zips up his coat, “It is going to give us our strength to play soccer.”  

Climate ready, Mikyas joins his teammates on the outdoor play area at Thomson Elementary for a quick warm up.

“Yes, I love it, I love this,” Junior R. hops up in down in place, waiting his turn to start a running drill.

I take my place in line too. As the new kid, (or new DC SCORES intern), I’m a little slow. Mikyas laps me on the stair exercise and Jairo S. has to give me a few pointers about dribbling once we take out the soccer balls.

“Stop it with the inside of your foot,” he recommends. I’m doing my best, but these Thomson Tigers are waaaay ahead of me.

The DC SCORES Winter program must be in session.

As I soon learned only two short weeks after meeting the Thomas kids, preparing for the spring soccer and service-learning season takes a lot of dedication and effort. This is where the Winter SCORES program comes in.

The Thomson Tigers have to learn how
to get their teamwork and soccer skills ready to go before hitting the field come March. Not only do they work on drills and plays, but they also learn how to best fuel their bodies for success. Alternating with soccer practice are lessons on nutrition and healthy eating.

“I learned not to eat junk food when we’re going to play games,” Maria shares during a reflection on the previous week’s lesson.

Jucelin C. helps me review a bit, since apparently my healthy eating habits are as rusty as my soccer passing ability.

“You should only eat one slice of pizza,” she says, referring to a program discussion about serving sizes.

“One?!” I’m incredulous. “How many Skittles should I eat?”

“Three,” she reports, smiling at the look of horror passing over my face. “It’s better to eat more healthier foods.”


Before we wrap up for the day, the Thomson Tigers end practice with a cheer.

Coach Pharis yells, “DC…”

And Thomson kids respond, “SCORES!”

While Mikyas is right -- it is chilly outside -- it’s clear that the temperature won’t slow down the Thomson team. Over the next few weeks, they’ll keep practicing and getting energized for the season to come and I’ll keep you posted on the Tigers’ progress.

Also, Maria doesn’t want us to worry about the whole Skittles thing.

“It’s OK to have junk food sometimes,” she says, “but it should be mostly healthy.”

Thank goodness. I still think I have some catching up to do.

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