How to make the world healthier

March 2020 … Healthy NewsWorks teachers this year are asking their student health reporters to respond to the following prompt: Describe a way that you can make your community a healthier and safer place to live in the year 2035. What problem would you like to solve? What is your plan?

Here are some of the responses from third graders on the staff of the Healthy Cheetah newspaper at Laboratory Charter School in Philadelphia:

  • “Stop air pollution and littering. I will clean the water, then the air. My plan is to have cleaning groups with at least 5 experts and 5 learners. In order to have clean air I would do the same so that we can figure out how to clean the air and not have all the pollution from cars and trucks.”
  • “Make some inventions in order to make people eat more fruits and vegetables. My plan is to wait till I grow up and become a scientist to make this invention. It would be called ‘vegetable giver’ because it gives vegetables to people and even fruit for almost nothing. My hope is to give fruits and vegetables to the homeless.”
  • “By cleaning and saving water, because if we keep wasting water, we might not have enough water by the year 2100 or 3000. We also have to use less plastic because there’s a lot of plastic bags, straws, and other trash in the ocean every day. … We also need to be healthy like eating fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains. People should also drink more water because our bodies need lots of water.”

“We are tremendously excited about the essays we’re receiving from the schools,” said Healthy NewsWorks Executive Director Marian Uhlman. “The student health reporters have done a terrific job of incorporating the core journalism and health concepts that we’re introducing.”

The essays will appear in the school newspapers at Lab Charter and other Healthy NewsWorks schools. A selection will also appear in our upcoming book, Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities 2020—People Who Are Shaping a Better Future.

Lab Charter is one of 16 schools participating in the Healthy NewsWorks student media program during the 2019-20 school year. The first issue of the Healthy Cheetah, published in the fall 2019, was produced by fifth graders at the school’s 54th Street Campus. The winter issue was produced by the third graders who are now working on the spring issue. They are under the guidance of their teacher, Darlene Freeman, at Lab Charter’s Fourth Street Campus.


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