Fifth grader helps lead fight against childhood obesity

By 
Elizabeth Murray,  Special to the Reporter
Aug. 2, 2012

Jessica Miranda poses with Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel during her recent trip to Washington D.C. as a Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ferrari Jessica Miranda poses with Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel during her recent trip to Washington D.C. as a Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ferrari

Jessica Miranda, a student from Russell Elementary School in Dorchester, was one of 33 students chosen to travel to the nation’s capitol last week as a Fuel Up to Play 60 State Student Ambassador. Miranda joined some of the nation’s most passionate student leaders for the Fuel Up to Play 60 State Student Ambassador Summit. This was a three-day event at Washington D.C.’s Newseum aimed at developing leadership skills and collaborating on in-school solutions to childhood obesity.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program backed by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League. Student Ambassadors attend the summit with their teachers, or “program advisors,” who help make lasting changes in their school’s health and wellness environments. Russell Elementary School physical education teacher Elizabeth Reynolds Lupo was Miranda’s program advisor for the event.

“Jessica has really embraced her role as student ambassador at the Russell School this past year by leading a group of dedicated fifth graders in the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity,” Lupo said in a statement from the New England Dairy and Food Council. “The opportunity to attend the summit has allowed Jessica the opportunity to connect with other like-minded students. The summit greatly improved her understanding of how to promote her efforts and continue her leadership role as she advances to middle school in September.”

While at the summit, Miranda wrote about her experiences on a blog, which can be found at http://kidblog.org/MsRLsHealthandWellnessBlog/author/Jessicam15652/. The summit featured an NFL fitness session with for Patriot player Matt Cassel, now the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, and a discussion on school nutrition led by Nutrition Director Bryon Sackett.

“Well today is the last day of the summit,” wrote Miranda in one of her posts. “My roommate and I were practically up all night trying to finish our play challenge on Breakfast picnics but of course with the help of our program advisors we got it done!. . . I got a lot of great ideas for next year. I can’t believe the summit is over, I had such a great time.”

Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador Program is open to all students actively engaged in Fuel Up to Play 60. Students may apply online to become an ambassador for the 2013-2014 school year at FuelUpToPlay60.com in September.