As any parent or teacher will confirm, peer pressure is a powerful force among teenagers and elementary school children. Using peer pressure to influence students to choose healthy behaviors is the goal of the “Be A Healthy You Rockstar” program, expanding to three area school district this year.
The Union Hospital Community Health and Wellness Department has partnered with Solid Rock Photos in Dover to create a series of posters featuring high school students modeling healthy, positive behaviors. The program began last year in the Dover School District and this year also includes New Philadelphia and the Tuscarawas Valley School Districts.
Last year Dover students sent the message to other students in the district to “drink milk” and “study hard”. This year the messages are “pass on tobacco”, “get fit”, “be sun smart”, “stay hydrated-drink water” and “get organized”.
“We worked with principals at the three high schools to select students to represent positive and healthy behavior choices,” according to Kimberly Nathan, RN, Director of Employee Wellness and Occupational Medicine at Union Hospital. “These students are well known and respected among their peers in their high schools and by students in the middle and elementary schools. In other words, they’re ‘Rockstars!”
Denny Trimmer, owner of Solid Rock Photos in Dover, has donated his time and talents to organize the photography sessions and to design and produce the posters that are displayed in the school buildings in the three participating districts.
“The students we feature in the banners were warned they may come in for some good-natured kidding from their friends in the high school,” Nathan said, “but we also reminded them of the important message they are sending to younger students in their district and the powerful influence they can have with others who see them as role models.”