Maria Acosta is the Nutrition Coordinator at two San Francisco public schools. Thanks to people like Maria and the Safe Routes to Schools Program, kids in San Francisco are healthier and enjoying walking and biking to school. She shared some of her work with us:
What role do you play in the schools you work in?
I am the Site Nutrition Coordinator at El Dorado Elementary and Dr. Carver Elementary. I am at both sites in order to promote and coordinate activities around eating more fruits and vegetables and being physically active every day.
What do you love about your job?
I love cooking, eating, and playing around at recess. I love how it looks different at each site and with each person. I love how both healthy eating and physical activity contribute to a child’s learning for the day. I love to think that we are changing our environment.
How does your work with Nutrition, Physical Activity and Environmental Awareness relate to school transportation?
An important part of eating healthy is being active – 60 minutes each day. They are one in the same, best friends, partners in health. For children we set aside time in their school day for play as adults we are lucky if we can find time in a day. Walking and riding my bike to school is a great way for me to work in my physical activity for the day, get to work, and reduce my carbon footprint.
What advice would you give to other staff, families or students interested in finding healthy ways to start the day?
Eat a healthy breakfast. I eat the same breakfast for one week and it’s all prepared for the week so I don’t have to think about it in the morning. It’s there. Make sure there is a protein, a grain (preferably whole) and a fruit so you can get your walk on. A cereal trail mix with nuts and an apple could be the start of a beautiful day.
What are your next steps at El Dorado and George Washington Carver and what support are you looking for / How can people get involved?
El Dorado wants to start a weekly walking school bus through the Visitacion Valley Greenway. We are looking for families/staff to join us. We also will continue to promote physical activity at our site as a way to engage our community. As we promote and encourage physical activity at Carver, we are looking for families/staff to join us in physical activity classes, such as yoga and zumba. By creating safe walking corridors in our community, we hope to increase the number of students who walk and bike to school and involve parents in walking clubs.