Healthy Harold bringing life education to schools

30 June 2015

A friendly giraffe has been running amok at local schools and for once, parents and teachers are more than happy to see it.

This is no ordinary giraffe – courtesy of a generous $8,000 donation from Canterbury League Club, Healthy Harold the giraffe mascot from Life Education NSW (LENSW) has visited over 3,000 children at 11 different schools within the Canterbury Local Government Area (LGA) in the past year to advocate the benefits of positive lifestyle choices.

The topics discussed include healthy eating and living, family communication, and the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse. Participants are also provided with a take home workbook which contains important preventative health reference tools to share with their families and friends.

“Preventative health education to children is very important and good health underpins the wellbeing of all Australians. Increasing obesity, depression and substance misuse amongst youth, reinforces why the LENSW program is a priority community need,” said Karen Yelverton, Development Executive for Life Education NSW.

Since Life Education was founded in 1979 by Ted Noffs, Healthy Harold and highly trained Life Educators have been visiting schools all over Australia using audio-visual aids and hands-on learning aids, games and role-playing scenarios with the aim of increasing awareness and understanding of the relationship between the life choices children and young adults make, and their short and long term consequences.

One of the most significant statistic since the start of the Life Education program is the fall of smoking levels of teenagers – smoking rates for young adults (18-24 year olds) have more than halved over the past three decades, dropping from 47% in 1980 to 19% in 2007 (quit.org.au).

“Pre-emptive education services like Life Education help develop attitudes that can encourage children and young adults to make positive choices from an early age – to eat and live healthily, to stay away from drugs and alcohol, and to form supportive relationships with their family and friends. This can assist in reducing many future health problems including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and mental health conditions which are a drain on the Australian health system,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.