Young & Healthy Founder Kim Harvey with Rata Steet School kids.
Photography Mark Coote.
In a world where children are growing up digital and Kiwi children’s health is among the worst in the world, one clever Kiwi mum set out to make a real difference.
Her vision has grown into the Zespri Young and Healthy Virtual Adventure, a fun in-school program that supports 20,000 children every year, from the far north to the deep south – without any government funding.
Last year 20,000 kids completed the program with incredible outcomes for the kids including halving junk food intake, drinking more water and reducing leisure screen time by 71 per cent.
The 2021 adventure is set to be just as successful and will see tamariki virtually visit global destinations like Japan and Peru alongside New Zealand sporting legends and ASICS ambassadors Ardie Savea, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Kane Williamson and Samantha Charlton.
Students earn points through completing real-world habits like moving more, drinking water, eating healthy food and getting more sleep.
Classes work together as a team to earn points which move them around the global course. At each destination, they will be met by one of the sporting heroes who will show them around and share some interesting local history and geography.
Kim Harvey developed the virtual six-week program to actively engage kids in a fun way to better both physical and mental wellbeing from an early age. Teachers have since integrated the virtual adventure into other parts of the curriculum including maths and literacy as well as health and PE.
“We must find ways to cleverly engage our tamariki so they understand how the choices they make impact how they feel and function, giving them the power to make the best choices they can every day, for long term health success,” says Kim.
Class applications are now open for the 2021 adventure and spaces are filling up fast so teachers, parents and caregivers take note and check it out here.