Ravenna students celebrate personal improvement

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

Ravenna parents recently were given the chance to find out what students are doing to improve their self esteem -- and possibly have a little fun in the process.

More than 50 students brought their parents, grandparents and siblings to observe them at West Main Elementary School's Personal Improvement Program.

Dr. Deborah Grant, principal of the school, said she learned about a similar self esteem project in Streetsboro, and approached the Ravenna Parks and Recreation Department about an after-school program for students. She eventually partnered with Jennifer Rice and Elaine VanHoose of the parks department, Ravenna Health Commissioner Joe Fisher, Jen Fisette of Kent State University, Bill McCluskey of the Portage County Health Board and Tina Hannahs, a teacher at West Main. The program was launched in January.

The program focuses on nutrition, physical activity, self-esteem, safety, and personal and social responsibility.

During the Family Fun Fitness Night, parents joined their children in activities, even climbing through an inflatable obstacle course that spread throughout the gymnasium.

Students gathered in the school library, as they prepared to spread throughout the school to take their turn at fire safety lessons, a heart rate monitoring activity, health prevention lessons and nutrition lessons. At the inflatable activity, parents received a guide on how parents can encourage their kids to add physical activity while watching television.

Fisette told students they'd receive their own t-shirts promoting the PIP program after spring break, as a reward for regular attendance in the twice a week program.

"This is a great opportunity," she said. "We've received almost 50 responses. We're hoping to do it all year next year."

Grant encouraged parents to ask their children to tell them at least three things they learned in the program when they come home from school. She said none of the volunteers receive any compensation for their time.

"They're doing it because they see the value in it, and they want to help your children become healthy, well rounded human beings," she said.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

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