As many of you will know I work in a college in the UK. College here is mainly for 16 - 19 year olds who are doing A-levels or vocational courses. I came up with the idea of a week devoted to the awareness of various health and living issues and we are going to have days devoted to different themes - health, mental issues, leisure, food and relationships. I have been gathering some hand outs and freebies to do with some of these issues and along the way I have spent my own money on getting some items such as some mugs, T-shirts and banners printed to try and tie it all together with a uniform presentation. This evening I am beginning to wonder why I am bothering. I gave one of the mugs to the Principal's PA as a gift for the Principal. I received no acknowledgement of this and as I found it abandoned in the staff kitchen today I can only assume that it is thought of as a bit of a joke.
So why am I wasting my time? I came up with the idea not to make the college look good, or may the senior management look as though they are doing a good job, but because it matters to me that maybe one of the 3,500 students will remember something that could help them in the future, and with the Teenage Cancer Trust coming on one day, something that may even save their life, or the life of another if they recognise the symptoms in time.
In the UK it is the perfect time to get them thinking about what they eat as something more than a collection of calories. There are morals and ethics involved with what we consume to say nothing of the environmental impact that agriculture has on the entire world, especially when people haven't got a clue that there is such a thing as seasonal fruit and vegetables. Riverford (http://www.riverford.co.uk/) are going to let us have some healthy eating booklets to hand out and are also donating some organic fruit boxes. I have an organic vegetable box delivered by them every week because I believe that organic food is much better than 'conventionally' farmed produce, and part of that ethos is working to enhance the soil and the environment and not to strip it of every nutrient possible as it destroys the soil and its environment. Organisations like Riverford actually seem to understand that they are the guardians of the land and not its exploiters.
While there is a chance that the message of how we live is as important as the fact that we live I am just going to plod on and hope for the best.