Empowering Migrant Families: A Journey Towards Healthier Living

On April 12th, our vibrant community of farm-working families within the VBISD Migrant Consortium gathered at the Conference Center for an enlightening session hosted by Daisy Manriquez and Keren Reyes, esteemed health educators with a rich history of supporting migrant communities. Formerly associated with Project Shine (formerly Project LEAN), their dedication to improving migrant family well-being was evident throughout the engaging presentation.

The primary objective of the gathering was to equip families with knowledge and tools essential for cultivating healthier lifestyles. Manriquez and Reyes led insightful discussions on fundamental healthy practices, emphasizing the significance of incorporating the five essential food groups into daily meals: protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy. Through collaborative exercises, families explored diverse meal options ensuring the inclusion of all food groups, fostering creativity while promoting balanced nutrition.

Moreover, the session delved into the nuances of food labeling, shedding light on often-overlooked aspects such as sugar content in beverages, including soda. Eye-opening examples vividly illustrated the alarming levels of sugar present in commonly consumed drinks, prompting families to reconsider their choices and prioritize healthier alternatives.

An interactive highlight of the event was the refrigerator organization activity, meticulously orchestrated by Manriquez and Reyes. Families actively participated in arranging cut-out representations of various food items within the confines of a refrigerator layout, promoting practical organization strategies for maintaining fresh and nutritious food options at home.

Acknowledgment is due to the invaluable support provided by several dedicated members of the Multilingual/Migrant Program team. Maria Hernandez, VBISD Interpreter and migrant recruiter, curated engaging children’s activities focused on nutrition, while Dawn Munoz Lamas, ESL/Migrant Teacher in Lawrence, offered invaluable assistance during the event. Sarita Collins, Migrant/ESL Resource Teacher at Decatur, played a pivotal role in coordinating the esteemed speakers, ensuring a seamless execution of the event. Victor Zuniga, VBISD Recruiter and Lawrence Bilingual Paraprofessional, contributed significantly through family outreach efforts and on-site assistance, further enriching the event experience.

The success of such endeavors is a testament to the unwavering commitment and collaborative spirit of the Van Buren ISD community. These events embody the essence of collective effort, showcasing the strength of our village in fostering positive change and holistic well-being within our migrant community.