CE Highlight: Feed the POD at Indian Hills Junior High

Feed the Pod PosterIndian Hills Junior High is holding their fifth annual Feed the POD event from Nov. 17–24 for their I-CARE service learning project. Students and staff are filling a POD storage unit with non-perishable food and personal care items, all to be used by the Food Bank of Iowa. This effort is part of the Indian Hills Week of Caring.

So far, students and staff have brought in canned food, personal care products, and non-perishable fruit juices. Today, Friday, Nov. 20, the school is collecting cold cereals, and students and staff will bring in cash donations on Monday.

The Food Bank of Iowa emphasized that one in eight Iowans struggles with hunger, including one in five Iowa children who do not have enough to eat. For every donation of $1, the Food Bank of Iowa can provide 4.5 meals to those in need.

Please consider assisting Indian Hills Junior High in meeting their goal of helping those in need. All donations are to be dropped off at Indian Hills Junior High, 9401 Indian Hills Drive, Clive, between 7:35 a.m. and 2:35 p.m. The POD will be picked up at noon on Nov. 24, and students and staff will follow the POD to the Food Bank of Iowa for its delivery.

To find out more about Feed the POD, contact Heather McKinney, the I-CARE service learning coordinator for Indian Hills Junior High. Service Learning is a program of WDMCS Community Education.

HungerHomelessnessWeekNational Hunger and Homelessness Week is observed annually in the week before Thanksgiving. Find out more on the National Coalition for the Homeless website.

Instructor Tips: Julie Gieseman — Health for the Holidays

dietitian_gieseman2013Staying healthy during the holiday season is a common struggle. We’ve compiled five simple tips from Julie Gieseman, RD, LD, CDE, a Hy-Vee dietitian and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Central Iowa Dietetic Association. She is also a Certified Diabetes Educator and trained wellness coach.  She recently taught a LEARNwest class on Holiday Appetizer & Wine Pairing.


Five Tips for Keeping the Holidays Happy and Healthy

  1. It’s tempting to stay up late decorating, shopping, and cooking during the holidays so don’t forget to Stop, Drop, and Roll: Stop what you’re doing, drop into bed, and roll over! Your body will thank you for the extra sleep which can help you fight off illness, make better food choices, and have more energy to enjoy the holidays.
  2. Stick with your exercise regimen. Especially during the holidays, it needs to be a priority. Remember: minutes, not hours — ten minutes is better than nothing. It can burn off a few hors d’oeuvres or a drink and be a healthy release of stress.
  3. Make sure to still get your nutrients. Fill up on healthy food by eating five fruits and vegetables each day, before allowing yourself to snack on holiday treats. Have a hard-boiled egg, an apple, and a healthy drink like water or tea before you attend gatherings where lots of unhealthy foods will be available.
  4. Be mindful of what you’re eating. Pace yourself by taking smaller bites, chewing thoroughly, and putting down utensils between each bite. You can also record what you eat, to help you avoid a holiday binge.
  5. Don’t forget one of the best parts of the holidays: enjoying the people around you. This can also help with staying healthy. Socializing can provide a distraction from food, and you can showcase your holiday spirit by sending your leftovers home with others.

Mythbusting Monday: Brighter Beginnings

ced_brighter_beginnings_thumbnailBrighter Beginnings is a West Des Moines Community Schools Community Education program that aims to make the world brighter for parents and children by providing fun early childhood family learning. We updated the registration process this year, and we want to bust any myths about Brighter Beginnings before registration for Session II begins.

  • Myth: Brighter Beginnings is free.
    • This myth is FALSE.
    • The first session of Brighter Beginnings is complimentary for families living in the West Des Moines Community Schools district. There is a $75 fee for additional sessions and out-of-district families.
  • Myth: Registration begins in December.
    • This myth is TRUE.
    • Registration for Session II of Brighter Beginnings (Feb. 2–May  6) starts Dec. 14 for in-district families. Out-of-district families can register starting Jan. 11.
  • Myth: You can register for all Brighter Beginning classes at once.
    • This myth is FALSE.
    • To register for Brighter Beginnings, you must complete a registration card and return it to WDMCS Community Education, Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, IA  50265-5556.
    • To serve as many families as possible, registration is limited to one class time per family per session. A separate registration card is necessary for EACH session.
  • Learn more about our Brighter Beginnings program on the WDMCS Community Education website or by contacting Sonja LeSher, Brighter Beginnings Program Coordinator, at leshers@wdmcs.org or 515-633-5009.

Monthly Motivation: Family Literacy Month


(Image source: National Center for Families Learning)

November is Family Literacy Month, and we wanted to help all the families in our community get motivated to read and learn together.

Family Literacy Month is organized by the National Center for Families Learning, which defines family literacy as two or more generations in one family actively learning together. It is a time to “lift up and celebrate the tireless efforts of family literacy and family-focused programs.” The Center offers several resources for families who want to learn about something new together, from healthy habits to fun facts. They also provide “30 Days of Family Learning,” a guide to celebrating the month with different activities each day. Activities include puppet shows, group storytelling, art projects, and a mystery dinner.

For more ideas, visit online resource partnership ReadWriteThink. ReadWriteThink encourages families to expand their bedtime reading repertoire by having parents and grandparents share their favorite childhood book with children in their family.

Let us know how you are celebrating and learning together this month!