Updated for the New School Year

3rd Edition Curricula Now AvailableFor more than 100 years, Volunteers of America has supported and empowered America’s most vulnerable groups, including youth. Our work touches the mind, body, heart, and ultimately the spirit of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services.

This is why, in 2013, Healthy Lifestyle Choices (HLC) became part of the Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana (VOASELA) family of programs. The program fills a vital need in communities by helping children learn to make good decisions from an early age. HLC also dovetails nicely with other VOASELA initiatives such as after-school enrichment programs, mentoring programs, and the Fresh Food Factor initiative to bring fresh, nutritious foods into local schools.

We are particularly proud to present this third edition of the HLC Program. After an extensive program review, key updates were made including the following specific content enhancements:

Universal Enhancements (elementary and middle school programs):

  • Updated all data, activities, vocabulary, and references to reflect the most current health information
  • Incorporated new books or activity resources that support lesson concepts
  • Expanded vocabulary words to reflect changing social dynamics and to improve understanding of key concepts
  • Edited media references to include the broader use of the Internet and social media in society
  • Diversified gender roles and reduced stereotypes
  • Broadened character names to expand inclusiveness
  • Simplified lesson preparation by highlighting all necessary materials at the start of each lesson activity
  • Refreshed “Home Connection” parent newsletter to include more experiential learning activities and modified “Rockland News” student newsletter to reflect changes within lessons


K-5 Specific Curriculum Enhancements:

  • Introduced concept of body-shaming
  • Explored dangers of electronic nicotine delivery systems (including e-cigarettes, hookah pipes, and e-pipes)
  • Explained legalization of marijuana, consequences of use, and illegality for anyone under age 21
  • Updated and expanded concept of bullying to mean more than name-calling
  • Modified guidelines to encourage vigorous physical activity on at least three days a week
  • Emphasized identifying ways to be active when alone, or with minimal supplies or equipment
  • Adjusted calorie counts for popular foods and exercises to reflect a 100-pound person rather than a 150-pound adult
  • Updated information about the prevalence of caffeine in common foods
  • Alerted youth about the dangers of accepting online dares/challenges (i.e. Tide PODS challenge; inhaling household substances)
  • Revised reference to early American experience from settlers having a common goal of freedom (which discounts the experience of enslaved people, indentured servants, and Native Americans) to a discussion of shared values and early settlers hope for a better life
  • Updated statistics on unintentional injury rates for youth


Middle School Specific Curriculum Enhancements:

  • Updated all technology references to include texting and social media usage
  • Amended lessons on living with decisions to reflect online “challenges” (Tides Pod challenge, inhaling household substances) and their potential impact on health and wellbeing
  • Revised all statistics on overweight and obesity
  • Updated Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey info to 2017 data
  • Included the latest info about opioids, vaping, and marijuana
  • Enhanced concepts of media literacy to include glorification of tobacco, alcohol and e-cigarettes online, in music, in movies, and through in-store and event sponsorships
  • Discussed teen depression and teen suicide statistics
  • Revised Dietary Guidelines based on USDA 2015-2020 recommendations
  • Converted all nutrition lessons from MyPyramid to MyPlate
  • Replaced Food Nutrition Labels with updated 2016 version emphasizing calories and serving sizes
  • Expanded all information/stats regarding environmental health issues such as outdoor air quality, hazardous waste, and water quality
  • Created new lesson focused on Climate Change including differentiating between climate change and weather, explaining greenhouse gases, and linking climate change to health impacts and health prevention


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