This is the eighth year that 5th grade students from Indian Ridge Elementary speak up at the Colorado State Capitol.
From their advocacy under the golden dome to local schools, their goal is to encourage everyone to celebrate Colorado Children's Health Day! It is an ongoing effort to promote good health including regular exercise and nutritious diets for children. Colorado's future depends on the success of all students ensuring that they have knowledge of and access to adequate healthy food and safe places to exercise and play. This is essential to ending both malnutrition and obesity as well as the development of type 2 diabetes in children and support greater focus in the classroom.
This year the students were planning on hearing a Tribute read in the House and a Resolution read and voted on in the Senate declaring April 4th, 2018 as Colorado Children’s Health Day.
Half of the students sat in The Colorado House of Representatives where they received a Tribute sponsored by Representative Cole Wist (Centennial, Indian Ridge’s Representative). Students were also welcomed by Representative Janet Buckner (Aurora, North of Smoky Hill’s Representative). They both gave thanks to Indian Ridge students, parents, teachers, as well as Principal Matt McDonald and Skippy the Super Roo! Students and Skippy, the mascot of superfoods were given special permission to hand out bags of carrots to the Legislators promoting good health and their new Veg-ta-Bubble concept. Our Tribute was finished by about 9:30 AM so this group headed over to the Senate to see their classmates in action.
The other half of Indian Ridge as well as West Middle School students attended The Colorado Senate, which opened with a discussion chaired by local Senator for Indian Ridge, Senator Jack Tate. The Bill was HB18-1104 Family Preservation For Parents With Disability - Concerning family preservation safeguards for parents with disabilities. (Find out more here) Students were captivated to listen and see the workings of the Senate.
A resolution was planned to be read and voted on in the Senate like it had been for three years running. At the last minute is was changed to a Tribute. One thing we have learned over the years is that something always changes at the last minute! We were sponsored by Senator Rhonda Fields (District of Aurora). At about 9:45am Senator Fields took the stand and welcomed Indian Ridge Elementary and Skippy the Super Roo, the student’s mascot of superfoods. The Tribute honoring the work of Active Citizen and acknowledging Children's Health Day was read in the Senate Chambers. In the past students have advocated to legislators through in person conversations and a video presentation. This year, special permission was granted to students to perform their song/chant advocating for healthier cafeteria food options. Click here to view the Senate Tribute
Dr. Richard Johnson, CU medical school professor and cheif of Renal Disease and Hypertension as well as doctors, professors and researchers from New Zealand were able to join students in the Senate. NZ guests were recognized by Senator Rhonda Fields - Dr. Gerhard Sundborn, Dr. Simon Thornley, Rochelle Newport-Lupena and Charlotte Unasa. These individuals are leading the way in New Zealand in their fight against sugary drinks. Gerhard & Simon are foundation members of FIZZ (Fighting Sugar in Soft Drinks), an advocacy group with a goal to end the sale of sugary drinks in New Zealand by 2025. The work of FIZZ has mainly consisted of organising health conferences which focus on the health effects of sugar, and advocating for greater public policy to reduce sugar intake.
After the reading of the Tributes in the House and the Senate, everyone gathered on the west steps of the Capitol where students were joined by Rep. Cole Wist and Sen. Rhonda Fields for photos and Skippy's Victory Dance. The kids and Skippy the Super Roo shook hands with these two wonderful Legislators and thanked them for their outstanding support.
Here is a video recap of our year with Active Citizen students, including our trip to the capitol. Check out below for photos.