Before Andrea Hagan’s time at Baldi Middle School in the Bustleton section of Philadelphia, implementing the Fuel Up to Play 60 program wasn’t on the school’s radar.
It would be fair to say it wasn’t even a discussion point.
But that all changed the moment the nameplate settled down on her desk in Baldi’s gymnasium.
Long a champion of Fuel up to Play 60 and its academic and dairy and healthy eating ventures, Andrea has played an integral role in successfully implementing the program at Baldi.
“This is a bigger school than I’ve ever been at when I brought Fuel Up on at my previous stops,” Andrea said. “For me, there was an opportunity to roll it out here with 6th, 7th and 8th graders because we have a lot more sports here. So, it was the perfect fit. Sure, you have to learn the quirks of each new place and what barriers you have to overcome. But you can see the impact every day this has on the kids with the way the eat and the way they focus here.”
Andrea spoke to us after the Philadelphia Eagles came to Baldi in late 2019 for a pep rally where they donated a $5,000 dollar grant check that will go toward improved yogurt and dairy coolers at the school.
It all funnels back toward the theme Andrea feels is central to Fuel Up to Play 60: Opportunity.
“I’ve been involved with this for years now and it provides so much opportunity,” she explained. “There is opportunity available and the program provides resources to enhance that opportunity. We’ve been able to enhance our physical activity here and we have healthy taste-testing with smoothies and parfaits so students can find the kinds they like. Those are fun opportunities to bring nutrition and education to our students.
“Fuel Up to Play 60 also enhances opportunities for our students to take leadership roles. It gives them something to look forward to while also highlighting the kids. I’ve had kids have opportunities to be a part of something that’s bigger than them with this program. And that’s very exciting for them and for us as teachers, not only watching them do it, but also mentoring others.”
Andrea says she could go on for hours on end about the positive impacts Fuel Up to Play 60 and its health, education and dairy bring to the table. And she invites those at other schools who are thinking about joining to come see it for themselves at Baldi on any given day.
“The resources provided us help with opportunities to have our morning fitness programs, after school programs, a new morning flag football program and even our first middle school football team,” Andrea said.
“Fuel Up to Play 60 is the best thing you could bring to your school. Game on!"
American Dairy Association North East is one of 16 state and regional promotion organizations working under the umbrella of the United Dairy Industry Association. It is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council®, which has been conducting nutrition education and nutrition research programs since 1915. For more information, visit www.americandairy.com.