By Amy Woolvett
THE COAST GUARD
A breakfast program geared toward providing a healthy breakfast to support children’s learning has started at Hillcrest Academy in Shelburne.
Students at Hillcrest Academy enjoy a healthy breakfast through the Breakfast for Learning program. Amy Woolvett photo
While the program, initiated by the parent support group at Hillcrest, has started off with two days a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays it may expand an additional day early in the year.
The Breakfast for Learning program started off with great success.
This program is available to every child at Hillcrest Academy.
The breakfast program is not intended to replace nourishment at home but helps to increase the probability that students will eat breakfast and improve their learning.
The introduction of the program supports starting the day with a healthy breakfast so that students are ready to learn, have more energy and are less distracted by hunger in the classroom.
“Every child has a right to come and eat,” said Ann Keith one of the volunteers for the program. “The best thing I love about this program is that they do not exclude anyone.”
To help compliment the program, Keith is working with Sobey’s and a student at the Shelburne Regional High School to bake muffins.
The student is learning to bake as part of a program that requires a development of life skills.
Students at Hillcrest seemed to enjoy the breakfast program and their social time while eating a bowl of cereal and fresh fruit together.
While many students of any socioeconomic status can miss breakfast either by not being hungry first thing upon waking up, or may spend so long on the bus that they are hungry again by the time they reach school, there are still the few that don’t get very little to eat.
Keith understands how it feels to go hungry. Her story of young childhood, before she was adopted at the age of seven, was defined by a grumbling stomach and a body that was malnourished.
“My biological family had no food and sometimes we would go days without,” she said.
“What a difference it would have made in my life if their was a program like this when I was young,” she said. “It would have changed everything.”
When the opportunity came up for Keith to volunteer she couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.
“It is huge doing this,” she said. “It is like I have come full circle in my life.”
The program attempted to get off the ground a year ago but a lack of volunteers hampered the attempt. This year there are over 30 volunteers from parents, guardians and the community.
A funding amount of $2200 was given for the local program through the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Health Promotion and Protection and the Breakfast for Learning Nova Scotia.