A Healthy Adventure


Diabetes Program teaches prevention 'through the eyes of the eagle'

We all know that textbooks and lectures aren’t usually the best way to teach children important lessons. That's why the Diabetes Program of Mille Lacs Band’s Public Health Department has taken a different approach: telling a story with costumes, characters, music, and movement.

Jolene Gansen and Cyndy Travers — with help from Wyatt Oswaldson, Camren Cooper, Edriaunna Nadeau, and Senicka Hardy — have been touring local schools to perform a “staged reading“ of the play Through the Eyes of the Eagle.

On Tuesday, April 30, they performed for the kids at Pine Grove Learning Center in Aazhoomog, and the students were well behaved and focused on the story and its lessons.

The play tells the story of an Indian girl named Rain That Dances (played by Camren) who is visited by a bald eagle (played by Wyatt). Eagle is sad because the people he sees as he flies above the land are eating unhealthy food and are not as active as people used to be.

With help from Rabbit and Coyote (played by Cyndy and Jolene), Eagle teaches Rain That Dances and her friend (played by Senicka) the importance of a healthy diet and active lifestyle. After the play, Jolene and Cyndy taught the kids a song and had them on their feet dancing and waving their arms.

The Eagle Adventure Program is funded by the SNAP Ed grant and includes four lessons after the play is delivered. The lessons encourage healthy eating and physical activity. The children are given “nestwork“ (homework) to complete at home or in the classroom and “Kids in the Kitchen,“ a parent tip sheet and recipe cards.

Kids went home with a copy of the book Through the Eyes of the Eagle written by Georgia Perez and illustrated by Patrick Rolo and Lisa A. Fifield. The play was performed at East Lake May 21 and will be presented at four schools starting next fall.