California "Germinators" Honored as Hometown Heroes for Helping Improve Hand Hygiene and Health Habits
Six students from Susanville, California decided to act up in school — as part of a local campaign to teach handwashing to their fellow classmates and the community at-large.
That effort is now being recognized nationally by the "Healthy Schools, Healthy People: It's a SNAP" program (www.itsasnap.org), a joint initiative of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI, formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The students from Susanville's Diamond View Middle School earned the Top Classroom Award from the SNAP (School Network for Absenteeism Prevention) program, which recognizes students for projects that are designed to promote hand hygiene and infection control.
"Germinators" Save the Day
Members of the drama club at Diamond View created a comedic skit called "Jeremy Germ and the Germinators." This effort was part of an after-school project with the local Public Health Department to spread the message of the importance of proper hand washing throughout the school and the community.
The skit involved two Germinator "super heroes" saving students – who hadn't washed their hands – from "Jeremy the Germ." The students also created bulletin boards, posters, brochures and flyers with key handwashing messages. A public service announcement was also created and played by a local radio station.
Creative Ways to Teach Hand Hygiene
"The Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It's a SNAP program taught the students that they have the ability make a big difference," said Bethany DuVarney, Public Health Educator in Lassen County (CA), who worked with the students. "They learned how to use local resources, media, and community events to reach out and influence people in Lassen County to wash their hands."
"The expert review panel that evaluated the award entries loved how these students devised a funny, thoughtful and imaginative way to teach the importance of hand hygiene," said Nancy Bock, Senior Vice President of Education at the American Cleaning Institute (www.cleaninginstitute.org). "Something special always happens when you invite middle school students to be creative. They truly deserved the top honor this year for their skit that focused on clean hands and better health."
"Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It's a SNAP is a public, private partnership that is a win-win for children's health." said Michael J. Beach, PhD, Associate Director for Healthy Water at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We congratulate the students who participated in this national awards program for promoting hand hygiene at school and helping to prevent the spread of infectious diseases."
Congratulations to the all of the "Germinators": Mazzy Schmidt, Clarissa Faustino, Abby Cooper, Vanessa Rios, Mykeyla Nimmo and Samantha Tiffany.
As recipients of the Top Classroom Award, the Diamond View Middle School students will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with leaders from CDC, ACI, the cleaning products industry and elected officials on Capitol Hill. ACI staff will also honor the students during a community celebration in Susanville May 5.
Students from Washington State, Georgia and Virginia Among National Award Recipients
Students from Kittitas Secondary School in Kittitas, Washington earned a runner-up award for their Coyote Clean Hands Campaign, which promoted handwashing at a local rodeo and county fair. They also put out hand sanitizers where handwashing wasn't feasible, created posters and a public service announcement, and developed other activities to remind students to wash their hands throughout the day.
Myers Middle School from Savannah, Georgia also earned a runner-up award for their handwashing project. Two students surveyed their classmates' handwashing habits, developed educational brochures and posters, and wrote and performed a rap song that shared messages on the importance of washing with soap and water.
Both runners-up received a $250 cash award.
Douglas MacArthur Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia was selected for a special honorable mention. A group of fifth grade students created a video of their "Wash Your Hands" rap song with original verse and choreography. They also made a "Soapy and Sudsy" banner and shared their video through an in-school TV program for all the students at their school.
More information on the Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It's a SNAP program can be found at www.itsasnap.org.