Student journalists report on health conference

January 2015…Health experts attending the Independence Blue Cross Foundation’s recent national childhood wellness conference in Philadelphia found themselves being interviewed by five young journalists involved with Healthy NewsWorks programs.

Sixth graders Brooklyn Grant and Paola Canals from La Salle Academy spoke with Don Baxter, the president and owner of Fit Essentials. In addition to his business managing gyms in a corporate setting, Mr. Baxter leads extra physical education classes in schools for the “Get Fit” program, part of Independence Blue Cross Foundation’s Healthy Futures initiative. Through the “Get Fit” program, Mr. Baxter said he hopes to inspire kids to stay active in ways that feel good for them.

During the lunch break, eighth graders Isaiah Outlaw and Alyse Nichols and seventh grader Shyann Davis from Hope Partnership for Education interviewed Kaseir Archie and Lorina Marshall-Blake.

Kaseir is a 17-year-old senior at William W. Bodine High School in Philadelphia. He serves on the national youth advisory board for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Kaseir said he thinks he has an advantage when he is spreading the healthy living message. “Kids pay more attention to other kids because they know where they are coming from,” he said. “They can relate to each other.”

Ms. Marshall-Blake is president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. A 30-year veteran of Independence Blue Cross, Ms. Marshall-Blake came over to the foundation because she said she was “excited to give back and have a greater impact.”

The five Healthy NewsWorks student journalists also sat in on some presentations during the afternoon sessions of  the Healthy Futures: A Recipe for Childhood Wellness Conference. The conference was hosted by Independence Blue Cross Foundation and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Both organizations are supporters of Healthy NewsWorks.

Independence Blue Cross Foundation’s Healthy Futures initiative is a three-year effort to address obesity and improve child wellness in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The initiative coordinates “Eat Right,” “Get Fit,” and “Stay Well” programs in 25 Philadelphia-area schools, focusing on nutrition, fitness, and preventative health.

Laura Benshoff

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