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Gabrielle Reece Headshot

The Teaching Garden and my Goal to Create Healthier Habits for Children

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Yesterday, the Teaching Garden planted its second garden at the Will Rogers Learning Community School in Santa Monica, Calif. I joined my good friend Kelly Chapman Meyer at the event to lead the kids in an exercise routine, and spent a great morning with them, jumping around, exercising, and generally having fun.

It is simply wonderful to watch this program grow -- we launched with our first garden just a few short weeks ago. What I like so much about the Teaching Garden is that it brings an innovative, hands-on nutrition and fitness curriculum to kids. This event paired Will Rogers students with volunteers from AARP's Create The Good, so in addition to learning more about healthy living, the kids were able to spend time with adults who know a thing or two about being active and eating right. Hopefully, these schools will continue to pass the torch to other students and schools across Los Angeles and beyond.

It was exciting to have my husband, Laird, and two of my daughters at the event today. Laird and I are always trying to teach our kids the importance of eating healthy and exercising regularly. We joined Jessica Stroup and Daniella Monet in the garden to help plant vegetables with the kids. Create The Good, with EIF's iParticipate campaign, is helping the Teaching Garden meet their goal to get 1,000 gardens opened in schools across the country over the next couple of years. They've put together a toolkit that helps people either start or join a school garden, so really, this great program now can be taken into communities across the country. It's amazing! Principal Chi Kim was really grateful to see the AARP members helping the kids plant in the garden because they are an integral piece of the sustainability of this project .

The Teaching Garden combines mentorship, nutrition, education, gardening and sustainability principles with community service and engagement. My part is easy -- I get the kids moving. With every new garden, however, my goal is to reinforce the message that we need to make better choices about the foods we eat and the exercise we get. Kids need to run more, jump more and play more.

The laughter, the fun and the smiles had yesterday -- not to mention the gardens that resulted from all of that work! -- are evidence of how projects like this can bring a community together to take its first steps toward living healthier and eating right.