Three WeTHRIVE! child care providers are dedicated to giving the children they serve a healthy start in life. Michelle Baggett, Angela Lyshe-Thierry, and Robyn Perkins have been caring for children in their homes for a combined 54 years. They agree that one of their biggest challenges is that healthy fruits and vegetables aren’t served very often at home. But each care provider has come up with her own special way to change this.
Robyn Perkins runs Nanny’s Child Care in Winton Place. While she loves to eat all fruits and vegetables, her families are not used to buying or serving them. She decided to teach them about fresh produce by taking them on a Jungle Jim’s excursion. First, Robyn took the children on a field trip to tour the store and see its treasure trove of fresh produce from all over the world. Next, they made another trip where she invited the parents to come along. She gave each family $25 to spend, with instructions that it had to be used to buy healthy food. Everyone had fun that day as the children showed their parents around the store and picked out fresh fruits and veggies.
Angela Lyshe-Thierry owns Kids Are Special People Family Child Care in Avondale. She fully embraces the mission of WeTHRIVE! in how she finds creative ways to expose children who live in a food desert to fresh fruits and vegetables. She is strict about what foods she allows in her day care, while making healthy eating fun. One example: on Valentine’s Day, she filled a big heart-shaped candy box with fruits, veggies, and cheese cubes. The children chose what they wanted from that box to put in their own smaller boxes that they took home. Angela says that the parents and kids love things like this.
Michelle Baggett runs Blessed Christian Daycare from her home in Northside. She’s been growing vegetables in her side yard for ten years. With many children not knowing where the food they eat comes from, Michelle’s vegetable garden is a treasure. Every year, she lets each family choose two items to plant in the garden. This summer, the children are watching cucumbers, watermelon, spinach, peppers, carrots, and tomatoes grow as they help tend the garden. Everyone enjoys the harvest, with Michelle using it in the meals she prepares and sending some home with the children.
These are just a few examples of how Robyn, Angela, and Michelle are constantly working to make their child care centers a healthy place for the families they serve. In addition to adopting the WeTHRIVE! Child Care Resolution, each center has earned the Ohio Healthy Program (OHP) designation. OHP is a statewide yearly recognition program for daycare providers who commit to providing a healthier environment via written policies, menu enhancements, Step up to Quality trainings and family engagement. This also includes completing the 15-hour Healthy Children, Healthy Weights curriculum.