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Mrs Q here: I’m running late with my CSA post because my son is sick. Instead I’d like to share a guest blog I found very interesting and inspiring.
The NO Squad – It Really Does Take A Village
By Dr. Jane Pentz
Who are these people wearing “No” t-shirts and handing out bookmarks?
Onlookers have tried to guess the meaning of NO, but no one has even come close to the true meaning. We’ve had responses from no smoking, no taxes, and even New Orleans. But NO has a far different meaning and the t-shirts are aimed at sending a powerful message.
NO is the title of our young adult novel that deals with the timeliest of issues – increased rates of obesity in children who eat school lunches.
Doug Dwyer and I, the authors of NO, met in a retirement community of not-so retired individuals several years ago. We have backgrounds in fitness, nutrition and education and we share a deep rooted passion for informing parents, educators and anyone who will listen about the alarming status of our nation’s school lunch program.
I entered the nutrition field many years ago for personal reasons. My oldest daughter, now a grandmother, was very sensitive to food allergies and I went back to school to educate myself. I received my PH.D fromTuftsUniversityand created my own continuing education company. I taught thousands of adults across the country – parents, educators, health professionals and coaches made up the majority of my classes. They would inevitably bring up the topic of school lunches. My co-author, Doug Dwyer, is a career educator who has worked as both a teacher and administrator and he shares my passion for working to bring about change in school lunches. Doug also has a daughter with food allergies and he and his wife have worked for years helping her.
We discussed possible solutions with friends, family and again anyone who would listen. What if teenagers everywhere put their brains together to organize their own revolution? Imagine if kids across the nation all stood up at once and just said “NO” to unhealthy school lunches and vending machine snack food? They might just have the power to improve the quality of school lunches.
Thus began the birth of our first novel – NO: Book 1 of Eighth Day Series. It all starts on a normal Friday atBlalockMiddle SchoolinTennessee. When the bell rings for lunch, the entire eighth grade class comes together in a one-word protest of the food that is about to be served to them in the cafeteria. And that one word, emblazoned on white paper that each student holds up, is a simple and bold “NO”. We soon find out that this same plan has been launched in middle schools across the country. As the story unfolds four seventh and eighth grade teens join forces with 8th Day, an underground group of professors, students, and health professionals committed to exposing the corporate greed and government deception that is resulting in the high-fat, high-sugar diets that are leading them and their classmates on a sure road to life-shortening diseases like diabetes.
These 4 kids living in different parts of the country combine their talents toward a nationwide boycott, quickly transforming themselves into trained “agents” on a mission to save kids who eat school lunches. Can the kids overcome food foes who are more interested in lining their pockets than promoting health?
No was published on March 15th (Also available on Amazon). We were pleased to learn that adults are also enjoying this fast-paced, fact-packed, and empowering book.
Our first outing with NO t-shirts came several days later and was so tremendously successful in getting the message out that we enlisted others to join us – and so began the NO Squad. The NO Squad can be seen travelling throughout parts of FL and their goal is to spread the message throughout the country.
You can join our effort by purchasing a copy of NO and a NO t-shirt at www.bffkids.org. We will send you six bookmarks with the purchase of every NO Book and/or NO t-shirt. Simply put that you heard about us (in the comments section) through Mrs. Q’s blog.
You can also help our effort by joining our discussion group (Children’s Nutrition and Fitness Advocates) on LinkedIn. Send me an email at pentzj(AT)comcast(DOT)net and I will send you an invitation to join the group.
You can also help us by letting us know of children’s organizations, local books stores, school libraries or public libraries in your area that might be interested in having NO on their book shelves.
Jane Pentz and Doug Dwyer