MUSKEGON, MI – The YMCA has partnered with Reeths-Puffer School District to create a model promoting healthy behaviors, starting when children are young.

Multiple programs are conducted in three of the four elementary schools within the district. Muskegon YMCA’s Nutrition, Healthy Out of School Time and Safety Around Water are among the programs, and more are in the works.

The programs range from weekly nutrition education classes to after-school physical activity programs and school-day water safety. All of the programs use curriculum developed by experts and are taught by certified YMCA staff.

“These are unique opportunities that can’t normally fit into an already packed school curriculum” said Melissa Wikman, executive director of the Muskegon YMCA. “Our goal for these programs is to teach and model healthy habits that will last a lifetime.”

Breakfast Club with the Y is the most recent addition to the programs. It was created by Diane Goodman, a special education teacher at Central Elementary. Goodman and the YMCA worked to create a healthy breakfast plan for kids who are most affected by sensory overload.

Teachers and students work together to prepare a breakfast that meets the healthy eating standards developed by the YMCA and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Other highlights of the partnership include:

* YMCA Dash and Play after-school program at Reeths-Puffer Elementary with nearly 80 first- to fourth-graders participating.

* Safety Around Water for over 400 third graders from Central, Reeths-Puffer and Twin Lake elementary schools.

* Nutrition in Action cooking and nutrition classes at Reeths-Puffer Elementary reaching 670 kids in the classroom with hands-on nutrition education.