DETROIT, Mich. – Detroit Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead demonstrated healthy eating and engaged in fitness fun today with a group of fifth-graders to share ways students at Detroit’s Fisher Magnet Upper Academy can be healthier and fitter during this festive time of year, while underscoring the importance of education.
Together with a team from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan State University Extension, Whitehead prepared a healthy holiday-inspired snack and participated in fun relay races.
Students also learned about the support teams from MDHHS, including an on-site Community Schools coordinator, a Pathways to Potential success coach and a MDHHS-funded school-based health center and community partners available at their school to help them and their families.
“Tahir is inspiring students to get active, stay healthy and develop the habits that will help them to succeed in school and life,” said Nick Lyon, director of MDHHS. “We are pleased to team up with him this football season to reach students with the same positive messages and habits our department works to share and spread every day with students and their families.”
Reaching students with positive health and fitness messages and role models just as they are approaching their middle school years can help set them up for school and life success.
“I can relate to these students. I want to help them develop some of the habits that will make a difference in their lives and have some fun doing it,” Whitehead said. “My background is similar to many of these students. If my story can help them to overcome obstacles and set themselves up for success in school and life then it’s my way of paying it forward.”
Fisher Magnet Upper Academy is one of six community schools in Detroit that are partnering with MDHHS.
A community school model creates a school where parents, teachers and the community work together to support the academic success and healthy development of all students in the school.
The other Detroit community schools are Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School, East English Village Preparatory Academy, Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, Detroit International Academy and Osborne College Preparatory Academy.
Whitehead is donating his free time on select Tuesdays during football season to help kids in Detroit and make more people aware of the ways we can help children and their families tackle obstacles to opportunities that impede success and their long-term self-sufficiency. These school programs touch on health, fitness and staying/succeeding in school.
Physical fitness, nutrition and positive behaviors including staying in school, getting regular check-ups, avoiding drugs and alcohol and preventing violence and suicides are key components to developing healthy student lifestyles. MDHHS is realizing Gov. Rick Snyder’s River of Opportunity vision of putting people before programs to better meet the needs of students and their families by bringing services to school settings.
Learn more about Whitehead’s partnership with MDHHS at www.michigan.gov/TahirTuesdays. For more information about how Pathways and Community Schools are helping families remove barriers, visit www.michigan.gov/pathwaystopotential.