WESTON, W.Va. – Students from Roanoke and Leading Creek Elementary Schools in Lewis County came to Lewis County High School for a presentation by Jump with Jill, a touring program that tries to encourage children to make healthy decisions about food and to get plenty of exercise.
“The overall idea is to expose our students to not only healthy nutritious choices but also to emphasize movement and the importance of physical activity,” said Lewis County Director of Child Nutrition Chris Derico.
The high-energy tour brings music with ‘DJ Buff Beats’ and dancing with ‘Jill’ herself as a way to teach those lessons to students. Presenters say that kids often get mixed messages about what options are healthy ones, and they want kids to learn how to make those choices themselves.
“Some companies have really catchy ways to get kids to choose not-so-healthy foods to eat, so we like to take those same techniques and use them to get kids to get excited about choosing healthy foods and exercising,” said Catherine Baird, who tours with the show as Jill.
But it’s not just about fun. The more theatrical elements may keep kids entertained but it’s also a part of ensuring that the messages they hear from Jill and DJ Buff Beats stick with them.
“We get them up and dancing, they use that kinesthetic energy and it actually helps them remember the messages we tell them about, so we take catchy, fun songs, about fruit vegetables, exercise, water, milk, and then we get them up dancing and singing about it, and then later on they’re remembering those catchy little tunes and dancing, and it sticks in their memories,” said DJ Buff Beats, aka Austin Maguire.