Local | Volunteer Salute

Enlisting seniors to teach kids healthy habits

Sabrina Plattner
Sabrina Plattner

Sabrina Plattner has been promoting better health in children for the past nine years. Her last professional position, with Healthy Children Arizona at the University of Arizona, introduced positive health, nutrition and sun safety concepts to children, putting her in contact with 25,000 local kids.

In June, Plattner began working at the Pima Council on Aging as coordinator of “Catch Healthy Habits,” an intergenerational health promotion program. It’s not surprising that Plattner is so involved in a helping profession: Married and the mother of two children, she’s the daughter of Heather Alberts, who started the Better Than Ever fitness program at the University of Arizona, and Dr. David Alberts, Regents Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, Nutritional Science and Public Health at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. “I learned at a young age from my parents and Congregation Chaverim to give back to my Tucson community,” says Plattner.

“Catch Healthy Habits” volunteers, ages 50+, go through training on good nutrition, exercise and healthy habits, developed by the Oasis Institute in St. Louis.

“The program started about a year ago,” says Plattner. “It’s for people looking to give back to the community, getting off the couch themselves.” Volunteers play physical games and participate in nutritional cooking classes with kids in after-school programs in elementary schools, libraries and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.

So far the program has five sites, says Plattner, adding that she’s hoping to recruit at least 30 male and female volunteers. The PCOA “Healthy Habits” program is one of 23 around the country and the only one in Arizona.

It’s not only the children who benefit from learning healthy habits. “One of the volunteers told me,” ‘This is a program I’ve really fallen in love with,’” says Plattner. “And they’re learning more about physical activity. They’re getting more energy. And the kids look forward to it, too.”

For more information, contact Plattner at 790-7262 or splattner@pcoa.org.