As the world prepares for the Summer Olympics in Japan, kids at the Boys & Girls Club in Middlebury are getting summer lessons in social and emotional learning in a program sponsored by a former Olympic athlete.
The Michael Phelps Foundation provided a grant to offer the “IM Program” to Boys & Girls Clubs around the country. The foundation launched the program in 2010 to teach children and young adults important life skills including water safety, physical and mental fitness, nutrition and goal setting.
In Middlebury, that program is being led by Youth Behavioral Specialist Natasha Lantz. The first part of the program is called “IM Healthy” and focuses on healthy lifestyles. To make the learning fun, Lantz is using sensory toys along with prizes and healthy foods.
“Sometimes we have them take flyers and worksheets home to their families. We recently had them take an inventory of what is in their refrigerator, and we discussed that the next day,” she said. “It helps the families understand what they are learning.”
In one session, the kids learned that Phelps consumes 10,000 calories a day, but is able to burn them off through a lot of physical activity. They learned how many calories they should be consuming based on their activity level – and how many pounds they would gain each week if they ate like Phelps.
The second half of the program is called “IM Successful” and will focus on mental health, how kids see themselves and goal setting.
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