Gulf Coast Community Services Association (Head Start Centers)
March 17, 2015
The Gulf Coast Community Services Association (GCCSA) program provides social services and community leadership to Harris County, TX (in the greater Houston area). The federally funded program funds and links Head Start, Early Head Start, and Pregnant Moms programs, and utilizes CATCH in 6 sites throughout Harris County. The CATCH program impacts 629 children from schools selected for their baseline scores on BMI and nutrition assessments. At the beginning of the program, 47% of the children at CATCH schools were either overweight or obese.
Over the past 2 years, GCCSA have trained teachers at these 6 centers in CATCH each year. GCCSA reports “so much success with CATCH.” Health and Nutrition manager Stacy Duriso says “this curriculum is so easy to follow and fun to do. The teachers, children and families love it!”
In order to engage families and communities, centers use CATCH on Family Literacy Night to get the children and families active, moving and help them to learn about nutrition.” Using these techniques at Family Night not only gives the parent insight on what the child is learning, it also gets the parent involved in the child’s health as well as their own,” reports Ms. Duriso.
The results? When GCCSA compares their Head Start centers that don’t have CATCH to the centers that do, there is a significant difference in the child’s BMI scores. The Head Start/Early Head Start Nutrition Specialist reports a 30% decrease in overweight/obesity at sites utilizing the CATCH curriculum. Furthermore, one Head Start teacher stated that she began to practice CATCH principles in her daily life and lost 30 pounds! While this isn’t an official use of CATCH, we love hearing how the CATCH curriculum impacts entire communities.
Stacy Duriso will be speaking on behalf of CATCH at the National Head Start Association Conference and Expo on April 1. Find details here:
GCCSA has also created a video highlighting why they love CATCH (complete with videos of children enjoying the program).