In today’s technologically driven society, where children are often glued to computers, televisions or video games, how do we also make sure kids are staying in shape?
HealthCorps, the nonprofit organization founded by heart surgeon and two-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa, is making sure kids throughout the country understand how to lead a healthy life.
With national peer mentoring programs in 62 high schools in 13 states, their mission is to implement an innovative in-school model that inspires teens to make healthier choices for themselves and their families.
As part of the initiative, last Wednesday Aviation High School in Long Island City held a health fair titled “Aviation Alien Health Invasion.”
The event was created by the students, and featured booths about nutrition, physical fitness, mental strength and healthy food.
Booths included ZPB Salsa Flying Saucers making healthy salsa; Planet Fitness, where students learned how exercise can be done anytime, anywhere; Positive Galaxy teaching positive self-appreciation; and Space Photo Booth, where students learned the importance of self-expression.
Lacey Salberg, who began as HealthCorps coordinator at the school in September, said the experience has been amazing so far. She holds events throughout the school year including team battle chef, Wii dance competitions, and salsa-making workshops.
“We are here to inspire teens to take charge of their health,” she said.
Salberg said the most rewarding part of her job is seeing the impact it has on the students. When they tell her they tried a recipe they learned through HealthCorps at home, it means a lot.
“When I see it spreading throughout the community to their families, that makes me know that I’m doing my job,” she said.
Flushing resident Matthew Chen, 16, is the student president of HealthCorps and was running the health fair with Salberg. He got involved with the organization last year.
“Students should know about health,” Chen said. “They can’t just go about life without knowing about any of this.”
Sara Hashel of East Elmhurst said after hearing about HealthCorps from her friends, she joined this year. She led an aroma therapy booth, which taught students about alternate ways to relax.
“I like to stay healthy,” Hashel said. “It actually impacted me, because I actually eat what she (Salberg) teaches us.”