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Amherst student champions eating for success

After winning a Nourish Nova Scotia contest, Grade 11 student Christelinda Laureijs donated her $500 prize to the Nova Scotia Community College to support the students with healthy eating opportunities. The college’s Jocelyn Ollerhead, Manager of Student Services, accepted the donation Feb. 12.
After winning a Nourish Nova Scotia contest, Grade 11 student Christelinda Laureijs donated her $500 prize to the Nova Scotia Community College to support the students with healthy eating opportunities. The college’s Jocelyn Ollerhead, Manager of Student Services, accepted the donation Feb. 12. - Christopher Gooding

Grade 11 homeschool student donates prize money to college food program

A homeschool heroine is helping nourish Nova Scotians in pursuit of their future.

Christelinda Laureijs is a Grade 11 homeschool student in the Amherst area and recent youth winner of Nourish Nova Scotia’s Food and Film contest. Instead of keeping her $500 reward, however, she has donated it to the Nova Scotia Community College’s Cumberland Campus Urgent Aid fund to help post-secondary students not lose focus of eating healthy or their studies.

“I know for students it’s difficult to study when you don’t have enough nourishment and so I was hoping this donation will help them,” Laureijs said. “Students may not be able to eat healthy food, so this will help them.”

After learning of the contest, Laureijs went to work creating a power point presentation focusing on healthy eating and food literacy, the art of not only eating but eating wisely. As a twist, Laureijs addresses the issues from the point of view of a extra-terrestrials to show how the issue is not geo-specific.

“It takes the view from a different planet so it gives people a different view and see more clearly how the same problems people experience on that extra-terrestrial planet are happening to us here on Earth,” Laureijs said. “Food literacy, to me, is knowledge of how food can be used healthily and to empower themselves.”

Laureijs’ submission can be found at https://www.facebook.com/CBCNovaScotia/videos/10156033555526842.

Jocelyn Ollerhead, Manager of Student Services at the NSCC Cumberland Campus, says the campus not only appreciates Laureijs’ donation but respects her desire for students to enjoy nutritious food and not just stock up on non-perishable food items. The Urgent Aid program may come in the form of items found in the Wellness Pantry, a gift card, cheque, or cash, depending on the individual student's personal circumstance. Laureijs’ donation will help stock the pantry with gift cards specifically for fresh food.

“It’s pretty tremendous you have somebody of this age and recognizes the need in the community and have it earmarked especially for fresh fruits and vegetables. Those are not necessarily the first thing people would look for,” Ollerhead said. “When you’re busy trying to make sure your belly is full you’re not always thinking fruits and vegetables and things you should get so, really, this will allow people to have fresh milk, maybe have cheese eggs, fruits and vegetables.”

According to Nourish Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia children and youth have among the highest overweight and obesity rates in the country and their desire for more to understand and appreciate the value real food by encouraging students to learn about nutrition, cook from scratch, plan real food meals, and celebrate traditions surrounded with good food.

To learn more, visit www.nourishns.ca.

Christopher.gooding@amherstnews.ca

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