Taking ‘steps’ for kids in need

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
The superheroes in Rhonda Rose’s fourth grade class at Darby Woods Elementary School show off the high powered fitness bands that help them fight childhood malnourishment throughout the world.

The fourth grade students in Rhonda Rose’s classroom at Darby Woods Elementary School are fighting childhood malnourishment one step at a time.

Their very important mission began two months ago when they received a package from the United Nations Children’s Fund which detailed alarming statistics about children across the world suffering from severe malnourishment. To combat this devastating issue, they challenged the students to take part in a global effort to fight this preventable problem by wearing special bands to track their activity levels.

For each step they took, the memo explained, they would accumulate Kid Power Points. If they reached a certain amount of points, it would ‘unlock’ a Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food Packet (RUTF) and feed a child in need.

Olivia Wolever said they took this mission seriously from the start.

“We wanted to make the kids get back to health,” she said.

Their teacher had no doubt about their commitment to the overall goal of feeding children. She did, however, have some doubts as to whether they could stay interested in the fitness tracking aspect of the UNICEF program.

“I wasn’t sure, honestly, if they could maintain their interest (in the bands) past the first week,” said Rose “but they surprised me.”

Tracking their steps became a point of pride amongst the class. That feeling never wavered as the program entered its second month. In fact, it is competitive to this day.

“Oh, that’s a good number Reyna,” said one student as Reyna Palmer’s daily step average of 13,000 flashed on the board. “I’ll have to walk more now.”

The students in the class said that even though the step average comparisons can get competitive at times, they never stopped supporting each other and they never lost sight of their mission.

“We have to help sick kids get better,” said Hayden Hudson.

To date, these superheroes have helped unlock nearly 600 RUTF packets to give to severely malnourished children across the world. They all said they plan to continue their mission even
as summer vacation approaches.

“This will be my fourth year going to summer camp and now all I can think about is how I could have saved multiple kids if I had this with me,” said Palmer, nodding to her fitness band. “But I’m going to use it over the summer and in camp and help save a lot more kids.”

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