Many of us know how energetic we can feel after a healthy breakfast or a bit of regular exercise. But what if you weren’t from a family where basic diet and exercise advice was offered to you? Who would teach you how to be healthy?

For some of the students enrolled at the Albury Wodonga Community College Independent School, that person is Marg Crisp. Most of the school’s students come from extremely troubled backgrounds,” Marg said. 

But Marg’s students have access to a unique program aiming to improve wellbeing. With the help of a grant from the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation, the program ‘Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives, Healthy Futures’ teaches the basics of healthy eating and exercise. “Were hoping to change their aspirations, so they become set on a goal for the future that makes it much brighter than just being a couch potato,” said Marg. “We’re getting the students involved in their own wellbeing and health for the future.”

Food education is an important aspect of the Healthy Minds program. Teachers at the school promote healthier lifestyles and provide meals as a way of building relationships with the students. “This is teaching them to grow the food, cook the food, eat the food,” said Marg. “Diet is really important in their own future health and wellbeing.”

The school was also able to bring in experts to help establish a fitness program for the students. “We have people doing cross-fit and other training, and people who measure kids’ health and teach us how to do it,” Marg explained.

Although the Healthy Minds is designed to change lives, there’s no expectation of that happening overnight. “We see a lot of potential in these kids – because after all, theyre just kids – but theyve had to deal with some really bad stuff in their lives,” said Marg. “We see the growth in them over time.”