SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Through partnership with “Now You Know Radio Program, hosted by Ms. Valerie van Putten, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise is able to serve nutritious breakfasts to the pupils of the Prins Willem Alexander School.
The purpose of the breakfast program is not to replace parents' / guardians' role as a provider, but to assist schools with promoting healthy nutritional habits, and to increase the academic performance of students.
Since eating breakfast increases a child’s ability to learn, improves behavior, and decreases the risk of being overweight, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise launched the Breakfast Program in August 2012.
To date, more than 200 children attending four of the island’s public schools continue to benefit from a nutritious meal in the mornings.
The objective of this program is to increase the probability of students eating a nutritious breakfast in the morning and, in turn, improve their learning. Now You Know Radio Program partnered with the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise in 2015 and committed to contribute financially to the program each academic year.
President of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise, Valda Hazel stated that the program is very essential for the well-being of the students, very often children attend school without having a proper breakfast and this, in turn, can impact their academic performance.
Some parents give their children whatever they want to eat and as a result, find it difficult to ensure a variety of healthy meals, which leads to their children getting “bored” of the same foods.
In other cases, parents have difficulty in managing their finances, as the nutritious food groups are usually the most expensive; they sometimes are unable to manage their time to prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals, and therefore resort to the choice of purchasing convenient fast food, as was discovered by a local research.
Ms. Valerie Van Putten of Now You Know, stated that her aim has always been to give back to those in need, and even though it has been extremely difficult with sponsors and certain businesses going through a difficult time, I felt it just has to be done, especially now in this time when many families are still displaced on the island.
The children who receive the Breakfast are selected by the school officials. The school has the responsibility of coordinating the distribution of breakfast to the students on daily basis.
Students collect their breakfast at school cafeteria and the school will submit a monthly report, which will include: the number of children who received breakfast, the number of days each child received breakfast; the menu for each day / week, students’ academic and behavior progress, bottlenecks / challenges they experienced, and measures taken to overcome challenging situations.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by representatives of all parties involved stipulating the commitment of executing and maintaining the Breakfast Program.