Foundation promotes health and wellness among youth

November 06, 2019

Last Wednesday, children from the Denham Town Primary School spent a few hours being farmers as they planted a garden at the institution.

The venture is a collaboration between the students and the non-profit Harvest Treasure Foundation, whose aim is to increase the awareness of health and wellness in the minds of the younger generation.

The foundation's founder, Sylvia 'Earth Angel' Palomino, told THE STAR that she has also introduced the activity to a few schools in the US.

"Due to the alarming rate of obesity we plant gardens in schools so this way we can encourage children to eat healthy. In addition to teaching them to reap and harvest, we also use this method to teach them to work together and be entrepreneur so they can enhance their community," Palomino said.

Included in the Denham Town Primary gardens were plantain and banana suckers, sugar cane and pineapple.

The Harvest Treasure team also made stops at Trench Town Primary and St Alban's Primary and Infant School, also located in west Kingston.

Among the volunteers assisting the students was Jennifer Barrett, who stated that this venture also encourages unity.

"We are trying to reach as many schools as possible, but I started with these institutions because these are some of the places that people dub as 'ghettos' and where the children are exposed to crime and violence. So if a venture like this can teach them to unite, I am going to invest my all in it. This is a rehabilitative resource for resolving conflicts and improving self-confidence and behaviour in children," she said.

Palomino also added that she is highly concerned about the high rate of cardiovascular diseases among the nation's children, and is hoping that a backyard or school garden will help to decrease the numbers.

"Too many of our children are having what we would call 'grown folks disease' like diabetes and hypertension. So I am really concerned about their diets and their health. Whenever these kids have a health issue, it prevents them from learning and even going to school. It can also be very costly. So we are encouraging the erection of these gardens to be a family activity where everyone can bond healthily," she said.

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