Preamble

Huck-Fin Environmental Education (HFEE) and A Better Community For All (ABC4All) are combining resources to create both a call to action to communities everywhere and to offer a comprehensive model solution to the national/global epidemic of obesity and related ills that plague our world, especially so many of our children. To this end, HFEE/ABC4All have created CHEN4All or Community Health, Exercise and Nutrition for All as a model which can be adapted for any school, district and/or community to meet local needs and conditions!

Huck-Fin Environmental Education (HFEE) and A Better Community for  All (ABC4All) present: 

CHEN4All Program Overview:

Community Health, Exercise and Nutrition For All

Introduction: Community Health 

When considering the epidemic of obesity, Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher  called on "communities and schools" to help children and adults lose weight and stay healthy (United States Department of Health and Human Services: "The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity," USDHHS 2001).

In identifying schools as central to efforts to prevent and decrease excess weight problems, Dr. Satcher has recommended "improved physical education programs" and "healthy food alternatives." Communities also must offer safe places to exercise, according to Dr. Satcher. He cites all of these concerns as a "community responsibility."

The emphasis of the model program, Community Health, Exercise and Nutrition For all (CHEN4All), starts with community. Forces within a community must come together and unite efforts to overcome the spiraling health problems which are reaching epidemic proportions. The vital need to reverse current trends in escalating health problems in society requires the participation by ALL aspects of a community, including local government officials, businesses,  health care professionals, consumers, parents, school district administrators, staff and students. Such global participation, therefore, will contribute to the success of CHEN4All. 

Obesity Epidemic

Obesity is now viewed by Dr. Satcher as "a major evolving public health epidemic, one which could well overtake tobacco abuse statistically as the leading preventable disease in the United States; 180 million people today, with as many as 300 million predicted by 2025."

Citing safe ways to eat, Dr. Satcher suggests that it is possible to make "intelligent choices that lead to balanced diets." When referring to the schoolchildren of America, he expressed concern that the rapid increase in consumption of empty calories while decreasing levels of physical activity has led to this health crisis. Dr. Satcher pointed out the irony of the $120 billion currently spent in treating the consequences of obesity (such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers), while many of our schools maintain that they “can not afford” physical education programs.

Action Plan and Call for Community Support

ABC4All also has created an Opinion, Action Plan and Call for Support: On the Epidemic of Obesity and its Health-Related Crisis in Society http://www.holisticjunction.com/displayopinion.cfm?ID=75 

The problem is clearly identified. The time for action is now. The solution is here: CHEN4All.

Exercise

A vital component to healthy living, exercise as simple as daily walking has been demonstrated to offer many health benefits. The model exercise (and nutrition) program represented by the Teens 'n Training Program created by The Energy Up! Health and Wellness Program offers a model for any community to consider as in the following quotation from the High Voltage web site, EnergyUp: http://www.energyup.com/html/program.html#tnt

Introduction

High Voltage has turned her attention to creating solutions to the growing problems of childhood obesity, unhealthy lifestyle choices and low self-esteem. (A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that overweight children rate their quality of life as low as that of children with cancer going through chemotherapy!) Voltage adapted her highly successful coaching methods (which celebs like Katie Couric and Kelsey and Camille Grammer swear by) to create the Energy Up Health and Wellness Program. Its mission is to help teens get in shape and establish healthy lifestyle habits that they will carry with them into adulthood. This unique program entertains while it provides behavior modification, exercise and education on proper nutrition. Participants lose weight, shape up and develop self confidence from this empowering and inspiring program.

The Problem

With today’s youth, healthy nutrition and physical activity are losing out to super-sized helpings of junk food and sedentary activities, such as television, video games and computers. This unhealthy lifestyle is sending our children on the road to Type 2 Diabetes and continuing weight problems throughout adulthood along with increased chances for cancer, heart disease and more.

Research shows that teaching children good health and nutrition skills will establish habits that carry over to adulthood. Unfortunately, the 2001 Shape of the Nation Report, as conducted by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, found that little progress had been made in addressing the decline in the amount and quality of health and physical education in our schools.

And the effects are obvious. The rate of teen obesity has more than tripled in less than twenty years. No wonder that more than 60% of the American public is overweight.

The Solution

High Voltage’s Energy Up Health and Wellness Program teaches teens how to kill their taste for unhealthy food and have fun while moving their bodies, burning calories and shaping up. They rid themselves of stress and negativity by infusing their minds, bodies and spirits with positive energy, attitudes, thoughts and beliefs.

Participants are expected to commit to the program by keeping a food journal, increasing physical activity, avoiding sugar, white flour and salt and completing homework that includes drinking water, saying positive affirmations, and a daily fitness challenge. In addition, Voltage teaches how to identify “trigger foods” that increase appetite, encourage bingeing and deplete energy—ultimately resulting in increased weight gain. The exercise is the fun part…

High Voltage’s Energy Up Health and Wellness Program provides the jump-start needed to detonate the bad habits that have been building over a lifetime. Following this course, the students have all the tools they need to get healthy and stay that way through adulthood.

Voltage and her team believe they can save our youth from the negative effects of unhealthy lifestyles one school at a time.

Nutrition and Academic Performance

It is a well known fact that poor nutrition negatively affects academic performance. More importantly, the reverse has already been documented. It is necessary to follow the advice of the Appleton Central Alternative Charter School whose existing model nutrition program appears in a dramatic video by Natural Ovens Bakery: http://www.aasd.k12.wi.us/aca/phys%20health.htm

"Program Basics: Business as usual will not work for a healthy nutrition program.  There needs to be a champion for the cause.  Appleton Central Alternative School serves both a nutritious breakfast and lunch.  There are no vending machines within the school and no carry-in food and/or beverages are allowed.  In addition, ACA offers bottled water and encourages students to carry water bottles.  Ninety-five per cent (95%) of Central students participate in the nutrition program."

We at HFEE/ABC4All have adopted the role of being that champion.  It is therefore proposed that CHEN4All follow the nutrition model that already demonstrates reversal and elimination of behavioral problems and improved academic performance in a school. The model of good nutrition for a school by Natural Ovens Bakery also appeared in the recently released documentary film, "Super Size Me." 

VIDEO: “The Impact of Fresh, Healthy Food on Learning and Behavior 2004.”

Natural Ovens Bakery has created a video. The Natural Ovens Bakery (NOB) video, in 2 parts, is available for viewing at http://abc4all.net/impactvideo.htm. This powerful, moving, dramatic and poignant 14-min video tells all.

Paul Stitt and Barbara Stitt, CEO/President of NOB, creators of the video and the nutrition program which has literally rescued the Appleton Alternative Charter School have demonstrated total commitment to bring healthy nutrition into all schools in our nation by 2012. The Stitts' nonprofit, Nutrition Resource Foundation, has already made abundantly clear that the model nutrition component to CHEN4All is already available, ready to be adopted.

A link on the website for "Super Size Me" (http://supersizeme.com/) states, "What can NOB do for your school?" We at HFEE/ABC4All want to answer that question for every school in USA and perhaps internationally where possible as well.

Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK), a public-private partnership of more than 40 national organizations and government agencies, has put in place 51 state teams (all states and the District of Columbia) that are planning and implementing state and local actions to promote sound nutrition and physical activity in schools.

Suggested Next Steps: Creating CHEN4All Success

A report by AFHK, to be released on October 7, 2004, "The Learning Connection: The Value of Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in Our Schools" states: "Tackling these problems (poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and weight problems) is the responsibility of every individual, every community, and every state in the nation. Public and private stakeholders at all levels must join together."

CHEN4All represents a unique model that can be utilized by any school, any district, any community to facilitate the goals of improving nutrition and exercise and the health of children everywhere all the while creating financial support for vital programs within schools that otherwise might not exist due to budget constraints. With the cooperation encouraged by CHEN4All, to include, as much as possible, the entire spectrum of the citizenry, communities can truly become better for all concerned. In Dr. Satcher's words, it is a "community responsibility" that will lead to full participation and resulting beneficial ripple effects of a successful CHEN4All.

Fundraising

CHEN4All offers TWO simultaneous sources of funding for schools and nonprofits everywhere. With full participation by a community, these two sources of fundraising can create opportunities for self-funding of programs in schools, churches/synagogues, etc. With the cooperation of all parties within the community, the success of CHEN4All will be ensured.

The two fundraising components include: 

1) A healthy fundraiser for schools and nonprofits: Nutrition and Kids: http://abc4all.net/abc4all_nak.htm and

2) The Triple Giving Program (ABC4AllGGG) http://abc4all.net/abc4allggg.htm. As the cornerstone of the Triple Giving Program, The Giving Card (http://TheGivingCard.com) is the only such program in the world,  EVER, to have received endorsement by the Vatican.

Thus CHEN4All is poised to do major fundraising for schools (desperately needed) all the while, simultaneously, bringing into existence the excellent model of good nutrition represented by NOB's "Miracle in Wisconsin." The support and cooperation of all parties in a community are needed as well as proper funding to execute this proposal and make it a reality. CHEN4All does everything possible to bring the parties together to cooperate and facilitate doing what it takes to make this proposal into a reality.

HFEE Program Description: Introduction to the Collaboration with ABC4All

Huck-Fin is not just an environmental education program; it has a proven model assisting youth within the communities of San Diego County, California for over 18 years. HFEE demonstrates what can happen when community support rallies to create an opportunity to assist the growth and development of youth both in and out of the school setting. 

By expanding its program, in collaboration with ABC4All, HFEE is creating an opportunity to make its successful program an integral component of a broadly conceived, community-based approach to create Community Health, Exercise and Nutrition for All (CHE4All). The result? A "built community" developed to ensure maximum opportunities for healthful living for residents. The "Built Environment" has been advocated by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)  (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/drcpt/be/home.htm).

In May 2004, NIEHS sponsored the conference, "Obesity and the Built Environment:" Goals of the conference were designated as follows: "This conference will provide a forum to discuss and illustrate how different elements of the built environment contribute to obesity via access to food and physical activity, and how environmental health research and interventions can address this public health problem." One of the goals listed is to "Partner researchers, planners, health care providers, developers, policy makers, and community and business leaders." (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/drcpt/beoconf/home.htm). 

CHEN4All seeks to foster such a broad partnership. Where CHEN4All is in force, a  community will not permit its residents (children of all ages) unthinkingly to engage in lifestyle patterns which lead to disease development, cause untold health risks and escalating health care costs. Instead, the emphasis is on disease prevention. The acquiring of lifestyle habits of healthy nutrition and exercise has clearly been demonstrated to create an atmosphere where students can thrive. It is no longer necessary to research the beneficial effect of the installation of healthy nutrition in a school. Natural Ovens Bakery has succeeded in creating a nutrition program with its obvious and well-documented benefits in a difficult school setting. 

As Dr. Satcher has stated, total community commitment is needed to reverse the deleterious trends which are plaguing communities everywhere. No longer can it be tolerated that, even unwittingly, constituents within a community will allow for the negative developmental trends to occur in youth, the leaders of tomorrow. Instead, HFEE and ABC4All create an opportunity for communities to take action and develop the comprehensive solution represented by CHEN4All.

HUCK-FIN LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

Imagine a learning environment where waves lap against the side of the classroom, where the cries of seagulls aren’t just background music and where the whir of a fishing rod means testing has begun. The Huck-Fin Environmental Education program brings this vision to life.

In the vision and words of David Gray, President, HFEE: 

"We need to create a comprehensive solution to the obesity problem that will be integrating the importance of health, environment, education, exercise, and nutrition, all together in a way that fits and makes perfect sense....a merge of all the players and their expertise into a full size program that could ALMOST be a school or system of its own, and yet easily adapted into every school on earth. It would have lesson plans, with progressive classes. It would have it's own sources of fundraising. It would have a reward system built in for all schools, teachers, parents and kids. It would pinnacle to an awards banquet, as Huck-Fin has every year, called "THE BANQUET OF CHAMPIONS"..... community sponsored. Of course, every school system, state, country and global positioning and  circumstance would have to be adapted to, depending on it's situation." 

The Huck-Fin program teaches environmental science and leadership development through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on activities such as fishing trips. The outings to the Huck-Fin organization’s private lake or onboard privately chartered ocean sportfishing boats are an incentive for students to improve grades and maintain good behavior. 

The Huck-Fin program has been the key to helping build student resiliency and enhancing academic achievement. This is especially important in the areas that Huck-Fin reaches, which serves some of the highest needing communities in California. Located in southern San Diego County near the border with Mexico, nearly half of Sweetwater’s 37,800 students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, a figure that is as high as 90% at some schools. In addition to economic disadvantage, a significant percentage of Huck-Fin’s youth come from homes where adult educational attainment is low. The program has triple benefits—an exciting water sport enhanced with peer mentoring and science learning in San Diego’s fabulous outdoor settings.

Goals of the Huck-Fin Program

The Huck-Fin program is an example of a community-based organization reaching out to youth with programs that have proven the test of time in San Diego County, California for nearly two decades. This model program can be adapted to meet the needs of local circumstances which may or may not allow fishing as a focus of activity in the community.

The Huck-Fin Program has several goals in striving to educate today’s youth. We realize that youngsters in the present do not have the opportunities that were available 20 to 30 years ago. Parents have less time to spend with their children. We need to reach, as well as educate, as many students as possible, so they can conserve the natural resources that are still left today. In this way, our students will be able to enjoy the native plants, animals, and the lifelong sport of fishing. We not only want these students to enjoy nature and the environment, we also want them to use it in the proper manner so future generations can also enjoy it. 

When our program first started, Huck-Fin served only two junior high schools. We now service over 22 junior, middle, and high schools, as well as community centers and churches throughout San Diego County. Huck-Fin teaches students that if you are not going to eat your catch, practice C.P.R. (Catch-Photograph-and Release). We encourage conservation, wildlife management and many other ways of aiding our fragile ecosystem.

In addition to environmental issues, students are educated about fishing in both saltwater and freshwater settings. Some of our class lessons include: local water sheds, fishing tackle, setting up tackle, fish and wildlife identification, casting, finding fish locations, baiting, lure use, where San Diego’s water comes from, how kelp improves our lives, knot tying, and the importance of fish as a resource. Some lessons are integrated into the program through casting contests, field trips, knot tying contests and tournaments, etc. We want these activities to be fun, and yet educational in nature.

Future HFEE Goals and Objectives:

In the future, one of our goals is to expand our activities by offering High School tournaments for both saltwater and freshwater. Currently, we are holding our freshwater High School Tournament, where teams from eleven High Schools will be competing. We intend to increase our existing volunteer community service activities for more High School students. They need community service credits to graduate. High School students would receive community service credit through Huck-Fin projects that help to aid the environment.

We are currently developing a joint venture between the Sweetwater Union High School District, Huck-Fin and Southwestern Community College. Through this venture, our High School students would be able to receive college credit for a Huck-Fin class taken at a district high school. Qualified college instructors would teach Huck-Fin students about environmental issues for community college credit. Not only would this class be interesting, but a great way for youths to transition into college.

In review, the Vision of our Huck-Fin program is to educate youth concerning the environment. We aim to teach teens environmental conservation and the lifelong sport of fishing, while keeping school fun. We also have the goal of offering students an irresistible reward, which encourages them to attain a high level of academic excellence. In addition, we want to expand our program to other geographic areas and partner with schools, businesses, community centers, environmental groups, wildlife centers, and churches. Furthermore, we want to partner with more colleges to attain college credit for high school students.

In short, Huck-Fin has been working towards the development of a comprehensive program for schools in a community, but now recognizes the vital nature of, and need to incorporate, healthy nutrition and exercise as essential components to providing students with maximum benefits both academically and in extracurricular activities.

Huck-Fin recognitions and awards:

1. Channel 10 TV Community Leadership Award

2. Emmy for the instructional video " Fish On"

3. Nomination for Golden Bell State Award

4. Certificate of Recognition from the Board of Trustees, Sweetwater Union High School District

5. Recognition of Appreciation from Montgomery Junior High School A.S.B.

6. Award of Excellence and Appreciation from San Diego County Parks and Recreation

7. Wells Fargo Bank Award of Community Service Excellence for the last two years

8. Certificate of Appreciation from Chula Vista Nature Center for the building of the Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden by the Huck-Fin Summer Academy

9. Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Chula Vista and Police Department for the Huck-Fin Graffiti Clean Up Program

10. Letter of Appreciation from the San Diego Office of Education for the Huck-Fin Homeless Outreach Program for the Homeless Kids of San Diego County

Huck-Fin’s Impact on Students, Schools, Communities and Environment:

The Huck-Fin program is now reaching out to 22 secondary schools within the Sweetwater Union High School District in San Diego County California, as well as several local Community Centers. Because of the nature of our program, students are encouraged to join Huck-Fin so that they can reap the rewards of their dedication and hard work. Kids involved in the Huck-Fin program show improvements in attendance, grades, behavior and overall motivation. Students learn first-hand, that listening, watching and practicing definitely pays off. Schools and students are rewarded with fishing field trips, environmental tours and seminars with guest speakers. The Huck-Fin Program also improves motivation by providing students with great incentives such as tournaments, the Annual Banquet of Champions, and the only Varsity High School Lettering Program in the nation for the sport of fishing.

What student would not enjoy a day out of school, on the water, with school friends, as a reward for keeping their grades up and improved attendance? Our community outreach program has incorporated senior centers, homeless teen shelters, and work at local wildlife and nature centers. Students are also involved in community projects that improve the environment. It has been proved and documented that Huck-Fin increases student performance, helps students enjoy school, as well as offering an irresistible reward. The impact of this project yields well-rounded individuals who are environmentally aware and community oriented.

Conclusion: How HFEE/CHEN4All Can Be Replicated

With the added components of healthy nutrition and exercise (CHEN4All), the Huck-Fin Program can be duplicated and adapted to any school district, after school program, or community center in the nation. The current application of Huck-Fin would be the template that staff and students would easily fit into. Each school or center would supply an instructor or several instructors. Classes would be taught before any field trips are taken. The Huck-Fin staff would aid instructors throughout the process. New instructors would be taught in teacher training meetings and in in-class demonstrations. Of course, the teachers or staff members who show knowledge and an interest in the environment and fishing would be chosen first to become Huck-Fin Instructors.

Instructors and Huck-Fin staff would use the current saltwater and freshwater lesson plans. Other lesson plan packets may be developed to suit local environmental current conditions. Guest speakers and local field specialists would be called upon to enhance and enrich the local program. Field trips to the ocean, lakes, rivers or streams or other appealing field trips would be arranged at the site level by meeting with instructors, leaders, and administrators in charge. Transportation, student lunches, and other objectives, would be handled accordingly.

In fact, we are working towards accomplishing this national growth, and are seeking funding to do so. By developing resources to expand the HFEE program to include CHEN4All, it is believed that with proper, necessary dedication to the common goal of serving our youth, that the ripple effect of good nutrition can spread across student bodies and into communities at large, as parents, families, group homes, foster care homes, religious institutions, businesses and governments all combine efforts to make a successful HFEE/CHEN4All Program possible. In turn, there develops a comprehensive solution for the community at large.

Respectfully submitted,

David Gray, President, HFEE                 Burton Danet, Ph.D., Co-Founder, ABC4All

September 2004

CONTACT

Huck-Fin
Environmental Ed.
c/o David Gray
P.O. Box 231014
San Diego, CA

Education Programs
Contact: Dave Gray
(Office) (858)-279-2172
(Fax) (858) 279-3796

Burton Danet, Ph.D., A Better Community For All (ABC4All) P. O. Box 1624 * Manhattan Beach, CA 90267-1624 310-712-5477 * abc4all (at) gmail (dot) com * eVoice/Fax 888-310-1661 http://ABC4All.net