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Humber College students share innovative solutions to encourage kids to eat healthy food

by Alanna Fairey and Matias Golob

 

The Healthy Kids Change-Maker Challenge united students and faculty from across Humber with a common goal: to design, develop and implement innovative solutions that promote and upkeep children’s well-being through healthy and sustainable eating. The initiative was kick-started with an interdisciplinary competition aimed at encouraging students to step outside of their traditional academic boundaries, and use their education, interests, skills and experience to generate and communicate novel interventions that boost veggie and fruit intake among children in the Rexdale community.

 

Supported by the Rexdale Community Health Centre and Humber College, 4 interdisciplinary teams of students were assembled in January 2017 to work with the Rexdale community in understanding and defining the issues and needs, generating impactful ideas, and pitching to a panel of judges. The winning pitch, Let’s Eat Together, was announced at a community celebration held at Humber College on April 12th, 2017.

 

Deputy Mayor Vincent Crisanti, who acted as one of the judges, spoke about the pressing issue in his ward.

 

“Families tell me all the time is that they need access to food,” Crisanti said. “They need access to fresh foods and also when we’re there teaching them how to cook and how to utilize some simple foods and how to turn them in to great meals it goes a long way in to generating healthy families and healthy children.”

 

In addition to the sharing of $20,000 in scholarships, the Challenge trained students to develop skills in creative thinking and interdisciplinary team-work, shaping and developing the way they think about their role in society, and providing them with the inspiration and support to make a real-world impact.

 

Winning team member and Humber Student William Davis shared that the initiative was a personal cause for him.

 

“I had a passion for making food more accessible for children and lower income areas,” Davis said. “That’s what drew me in and I thought it would be interesting to see a whole project through and develop an entire project from scratch.”

 

President & CEO of Humber College Chris Whitaker praised the Challenge for combining practical skills with the theory required to solve problems in the real world and to help people go on to successful careers that contribute to their community.

 

“We’re very proud of all of our students, our faculty and our industry experts who have contributed to this challenge and have demonstrated the power of multi-disciplinary collaboration for tackling complex problems,” Whitaker said. “I am really looking forward to continuing with the process.”

 

Innovation Team
Partners: Healthy Kids Community Challenge Rexdale, Rexdale Community Health Centre, City of Toronto
Project Lead: Matias Golob
Faculty & Staff Mentors: Lori Short-Zamudio, Sara Hassan, Vivian Bizios, Mary Jo Sterns, Maria Pelliccia, Alexander Shvarts, Kayla Sass
Students:  William Davis, Daina Nakrosius, Erin Green, Nyron Barakat, Amber Bell, Emma Marple, Maria Bautista, Jessika Jaime, Tina Sarpong, Maria Plazas, Ashleigh Hart, Eloisa Jane Mariano, Teri Lynn Gould, Racheal Ganesh, Denver Boertien, Anya Lomako, Jennifer Porter, Brigita Renwarin, Helena Sebescen, Ryan McDougall, Melissa Buchanan, Svitlana Goncharenko, Kristopher Caine, Katherine Capule, Janet Tran, Juan Pino, Shah Bano