Monday, February 06, 2006

Compassionate Veronica Atkins Rewards Students For Rejecting Sugar Fundraiser

Veronica Atkins gives $16,000 to school kids for shunning sugar

This South Florida Sun-Sentinel story about an elementary class that chose not to sell sugary candy to raise money for an upcoming field trip to Washington, D.C. got a surprise they never saw coming from a woman who has dedicated herself to promoting healthy living.

When the students at North Side Elementary School recently heard a talk about the importance of good nutrition and physical activity, it really made a lasting impact on them that challenged them to think against the same way of doing things.

So when the time came for them to begin raising money for their class trip to the nation's capital, these bright elementary kids said they didn't think it was such a good idea to be selling something that is clearly unhealthy for people to eat.

Hallelujah, the message is FINALLY getting through! WOO HOO! I am so proud of these kids, I wish I could just go and hug every single one of them for taking such a bold and brave stand. Too often the kids just mindlessly do and say whatever everyone else is doing and go with the flow. Candy bars, Girl Scout cookies, Christmas chocolate tins -- we've seen all these fundraisers that promote decidedly UNHEALTHY choices in nutrition.

But since we do it "for the kids," we rationalize in our own minds that it's okay. Yet here is a class unwilling to follow the crowd and bucking the trend to set the example for others to follow. That's what caught the attention of the one and only Mrs. Veronica Atkins.

The wife of the late Dr. Robert C. Atkins who created the world-renowed Atkins Diet, Veronica was moved by the actions of these students so much so that she decided to donate a check in the amount of $16,000 to these kids so they can still take their field trip and to reward them for openly rejecting the fundraiser involving sugary snacks.

While Veronica Atkins is impassioned about doing something about the growing problem with Type II diabetes, she felt this small compassionate gesture would leave a lasting mark on these kids as they go through life and continue to make wise decisions about what they consume.

"I was so proud when the children said you're telling us not to go out and eat sugar and then you ask us to sell it," Atkins told The Sun Sentinel. "I said no way am I going to let them down and not let them go on the field trip."

An official check-delivery ceremony will take place on Wednesday morning at the school with Mrs. Atkins presenting it to the school's principal Michaelle Valbrun-Pope directly. The donation will enable 36 of the 5th graders to go on the trip to D.C. and they are hopeful that others will also step forward to donate money so the rest of the students can go, too.

The 4th grade class still needs $8,000 so send their students to Tallahassee for a field trip and donations are currently being accepted. So far, nearly 100 e-mails from around the world have come pouring in promising money for the sugar-shunning students, including a $6,000 check from an anonymous donor.

Already receiving national attention by appearing on CNN last week and "The Tony Danza Show" later this week, the students are even making an impact on their teachers who traditionally have given candy out as a reward for good behavior and academic performance.

"Now we're rethinking that," the principal exclaimed regarding the candy policy. "We were forced by these students to re-look at how we do business as a school and as a community."

Jump for joy people! There's a revolution happening in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and the kids are leading the charge! While some people want soda companies to put warning labels on their products and the government puts out a kid's version of the Food Pyramid to entice healthy living, what these children have put on full display is how the magic of a democratic society works.

If enough people stand up against something (in this case, sugary snacks) and state their reasons for doing so (because they can make you fat), then America can and will remain the greatest country on the planet. And it doesn't matter how old you are either!

How about sending an e-mail to these outstanding students for being willing to do the right thing and forgoing the sugar fundraiser. Send your support to Or you can call the school at (954) 765-6886 between the hours of 7:30am-3:00pm. Let's show the kids we are behind them 100%!


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