School assembly programs take aim at health

School assembly programs take aim at health

CHAMPAIGN — Parents, here's a rock and roll concert that helps kids learn kiwi and watermelon are nature's candy and exercising is one of the best ways to respect their bodies.

It's the American Cancer Society's Music Saved My Life-Jump with Jill traveling school assembly that delivers health information with songs and dance moves.

The show came to Savoy's Carrie Busey Elementary School earlier this week. A similar program for middle school students, Music Saved My Life/Relay Recess Tour featuring Mike-E, is coming to Champaign's Edison Middle School and Danville's South View Middle School on May 3, the organization says.

Lawrence Underwood, regional director of Health Initiates for the cancer society, said the Jump with Jill program reinforces a health message with music, and that helps kids retain it.

"When you make it interactive, I think kids receive things better and I think it becomes more of a priority," he said.

Carrie Busey Principal Jeff Scott said this won't be the first time students at his school get the word about how to live a healthful lifestyle.

"Our kids are inundated with that message from the day they get here," he said.

The Jump with Jill show has been performed live 1,000 times throughout the U.S. and Europe, according to the American Cancer Society.

Among the messages in the program: Respect your body, fuel with healthful foods, start your day with breakfast, enjoy certain fruits as nature's candies, discover supporter veggies, exercise daily, drink water, recycle, get your calcium on and see through the gimmicks in junk food ads.

The Mike-E show, performed by Mike Ellison and others, uses hip-hop, spoken word, rap, a DJ, African drums, break-dancing and vocals to deliver messages focusing on esteem-building, making good choices, choosing not to smoke or use any tobacco products, physical activity, eating right and being respectful of each other, says Shayne Squires, the cancer society's regional communications manager.

When she saw the program herself at a Springfield high school, there were both male and female students who responded by turning over their cigarettes, she said.

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