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G.R. Davis set to launch new breakfast program

G.R. Davis school principal Ian Stewardson

G.R. Davis school principal Ian Stewardson knows well-fed students perform better academically and have fewer behavioural problems.

One of the new breakfast program appliances being installed at G.R. Davis school is a 600-slice toaster.
And the school is looking for volunteers — the brave-hearted type, it seems — to operate it.
“I can hardly wait to see the giant toaster fire up with 600 pieces of toast an hour,” G.R. Davis principal Ian Stewardson said. “I don’t think we will ever need 600 pieces of toast but it’s exciting to know that you have that kind of toasting power.”
Renovations to the present kitchen are expected to be finished by the first week of April.
As soon as the kitchen upgrade is completed G.R. Davis school will have a grand opening breakfast to launch its new Breakfast Clubs of Canada program.
“This is a totally new program for our school,” Stewardson said. “We will be serving toast, cereal, juice and some fresh fruit for the students.”
G.R. Davis school native liaison worker Vera Crowshoe, in charge of the breakfast program, is looking for at least half a dozen volunteers.
“The volunteer needs show up in the morning from 8 to 8:45 to prepare, serve and clean up after breakfast,” Crowshoe said. “I would like to have five or six per week.”
Volunteers can work out a schedule that suits their own availability, Crowshoe said.
“Whether it’s one or two days a week, or three, or one week a month . . . it will depend on how often the volunteer wants to help out.”
G.R. Davis school is host to 153 students in Grade 4-6. Stewardson projects that from 20 to 30 students a day will use the new breakfast program.
“This will be a universal program open to any student who comes to school without breakfast,” said Stewardson, adding that the breakfast program is a valuable contribution to the learning process.
“I’ve always been cognizant of the fact that students’ basic needs must be met before they can learn,” Stewardson said. “Food is one of the basic needs. It gets their day started off in the best way. When students are riding a bus early in the morning, sometimes it’s difficult to get fed and ready for school. This program supports the students that need a little extra to get their day started right.”
While principal at W.A. Day school before coming to G.R. Davis, Stewardson saw firsthand the results of a good breakfast program.
“While I was at W.A. Day, we implemented with the support of the community in a breakfast program. The volunteers provide a safe, caring breakfast nook for the students, and we saw educational results as well when students were fed and not looking for a snack.”
It’s taken a lot of hard work to get the new breakfast program up and running, and a lot of people deserve credit for it, Stewardson said.
“This program is only possible because of the hard work of the Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre — Susan Simpson and Tina Williams — who tracked down the (Breakfast Clubs of Canada) grant and shepherded this initiative through the hoops,” Stewardson said. “Prior to having access to this program, we gave kids a granola bar and they would receive a snack occasionally and lunch at lunch time.”
Alberta Health Services health officer Robert Rippen has also been involved in setting up the program, Stewardson continued.
“Robert Rippen guided us through all of the health concerns to ensure that student food safety was present.”
“We’d also like to thank Dale Halbert, Greg Gorzitza and Mike Mahaffy for all of the hard work at renovating, finding power and tradesmen to create a great environment for our students to have breakfast.”
G.R. Davis school will continue to offer its lunch program to students as well.
“The Breakfast Clubs of Canada program provided us with the impetus for change and it will also allow our Leader in Me lunch program to have a home as well,” Stewardson said. “This program assists students with leadership and life skills while offering a nutritious and hot lunch for our students and staff.”
Breakfast Clubs of Canada, a national non-profit group, has provided sufficient funding for breakfast programs in all four Fort Macleod schools for the next three years, Kids First Family Centre co-ordinator Susan Simpson said.
“Other funding that comes in to FCSS from businesses and individual donors will go to the schools’ lunch programs,” Simpson added.
For further information or to volunteer for the new breakfast program call Vera Crowshoe at 403-553-3744.

G.R. Davis school principal Ian Stewardson knows well-fed students perform better academically and have fewer behavioural problems.

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