Teaching kids about vital aspects of life from an early age can help change the world and make it better. A vital aspect like health education builds knowledge, skills and good attitudes for learners regarding health. Programs on health education help empower children, individuals and communities to live healthier, and nurtured lives by improving their physical, mental, emotional and social health through increasing their knowledge and influencing their attitudes on being conscious of their health and caring for their well-being.
Dr. Pooch is one of the pioneers focused on the well-being of children. He established the Dr. Pooch Foundation, which is a non-profit tax-exempt organization focusing on providing Early Holistic –Health Education.
Here Dr. Pooch gives us a bigger picture about the functionality and the goals behind his foundation and Children’s Holistic Health Education.
1. Give us the background of Children’s Holistic Health Education and the function of your organization?
I believe if we educate children to be conscious of holistic health concepts at an early age we would be reinforcing their innate connection to nature as a result, we would have a more health conscious planet! Our mission at the Dr. Pooch Foundation is to train the next generation of little health coaches through creative arts and literature.
2. As the CEO of Children’s Holistic Health Education and Author, how did the passion for writing books for children come about and how is that going?
I developed a passion for writing as a child. Ever since I’ve been honing my skill. In 2012 after I got certified as a holistic health coach my entrepreneurial spirit mixed with a passion to help and educate people gave birth to what is now the Get Well Johnny 12: 12 children’s books on the most important holistic health topics which includes activities, recipes and more! Of course any mission so large has its set of challenges, but it’s becoming more clear to adults around the world the importance of children’s holistic health education.
3. According to your organization, what measures do you take when implementing holistic health educational programs? Take us through the steps.
I start off my workshops with a basic assessment. My work is usually in inner cities so the knowledge of basic health or nutrition are very limited. I ask simple questions like name 3 seeds, nuts or fruits and veggies. These questions prove to be difficult ones, but my assessment at the end of the workshop improves every time! The children also participate in what I call the Get Well Farmer’s Market in which I give them an abundance of Get Well Johnny market dollars to buy a variety of all natural treats that are laid out in an open market style. This opens their world to new tastes and empowers them by their own choices.
4. What challenges have you faced and overcame with your focus being children?
School systems are underfunded. It is a challenge to run a successful business in inner city schools that don’t have the resources to purchase books and programs. The need is there however, so I’ve conducted many pro bono workshops and given away several sets to classrooms that adopt our holistic health curriculum. I’ve had to knock on doors and sell books in the streets to make ends meet as well as raise awareness for my cause. Because of this, I’ve attracted donors and have been awarded grants to continue this much needed work.
5. Tell us about a particular moment or memory that has stood out for you since the inception of your Non-profit organization?
I was doing a workshop at a school in a South Central Los Angeles first grade class. Our focus that day was on book 1 of the Get Well Johnny series: Sugar From Nature is Always Fine! In this workshop we learn to identify refined sugar and discuss the dangers of it. I asked the class if they knew anyone with diabetes in their families to which one overweight young girl said: “yeah, my whole family…my auntie, my uncle, my mama, my brother and my sister”!
6. What are the benefits do children gain in the programs provided?
They learn basic health concepts as they relate to the Get Well Johnny book series. They take this information back home to their parents. They talk to their parents and influence better decisions. Once they know better, they do better… provided we adults set the proper environment for this change to occur.
7. What type of support do you receive in terms of people, finances, etc.?
We receive donations, grants and direct sales. We have recently launched our first NFT’s to develop another means of fundraising.
8. What are your goals for your organization in the next year?
This year we will officially be launching all 12 books! Only 6 were in use prior to this year. We want to get this into the hands of major influencers to make this brand a global health initiative adopted by many English speaking countries.
9. Mention some of the lessons you’ve learned from working with children?
Children always want to do what is right. They are so pure and open to changing adverse behavior with the right motivation and conditions. Teaching children is easy, it’s the adults that need their arm twisted a bit to change lol…
10. How can communities also play a part to help create a health-literate world?
Buy our NFT’s! Be a part of this journey forever! Become a global advocate for children’s holistic health. Purchase Your own set of Get Well Johnny books, buy some apparel and teach children to take responsibility in their health!
One of the goals of the Dr. Pooch Foundation is “to change our future one child at a time” and that can also be achieved by creating a health-literate world.