I come from the same impoverished communities that most of the kids in our program come from. I know very well that unhealthy eating habits are often a pattern and that poor nutrition is also magnified by limited accessibility to healthy options. As a kid, I not only chose to eat unhealthy foods but I also had to put some kind of unhealthy topping or sauce on everything. For example, if I went to Harold’s and got chicken I had to have " mild sauce " on it. That also went for any kind of fries I ordered. Or if I got some Doritos from the store, I would make sure I spent the extra 75 cents for meat and cheese to be piled on top. I wish I had been taught at an early age how to be healthier in my surroundings.
Last week on my way into the office after practice at Attucks, I saw one of my program participants standing with his little brother on the playground. I had found it weird that this child had not picked up his snack after practice and assumed that he must have packed something else in his bag. Then as I kept walking, I saw him pull out some grapes from his backpack. He began to eat his grapes and share them with his brother as his friends stood around him eating mostly chips and candy. I felt this moment to be a serious breakthrough. Poor diet and misinformation about health is a problem plaguing many urban communities in this country so to see that kid eating his grapes is a real testament to what we are trying to accomplish through our health and education soccer program.