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In her junior year of high school in San Antonio, TX, Gillian Graham developed a program to teach elementary-age children simple ways to maintain a nutritionally balanced lifestyle. The Rainbow Program aims to improve nutrition in low-income communities by working to educate children and teenagers about small lifestyle changes that will lead to subtle but sustainable improvements in their health and well-being, along with that of their families.
Gillian created the program around the central message that "Rainbow foods are healthy," highlighting the concept that richly colored, natural foods are core components of good health and should be consumed daily. The Rainbow Program features an interactive curriculum to teach the Rainbow concept and encourage students to implement these healthy habits at home.
“While in high school, I taught the Rainbow Program to children at several venues in San Antonio,” says Gillian. “Now, as a pre-med student at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, I’ve introduced the program into the local community here.” Student and faculty volunteers from Southwestern University were recruited to assist in preparing for and teaching Rainbow Program classes at youth-based institutions that had a need for nutrition education, and Rainbow Program materials are currently being used by children’s health organizations in both San Antonio and Georgetown.
Feedback collected from the parents and students who have participated in the Rainbow Program is currently being used in order to create an even more focused and comprehensive Rainbow Program curriculum. Gillian plans to pilot this improved "Rainbow Package" at elementary schools, after-school programs and children’s clinics so that teachers and parents can use the Rainbow Program to work with their children to achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles.
For more information about the Rainbow Program, visit their website.
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