Parents Praise Coordinated Youth Initiative Programs

With the school year drawing to a close, parents have written to express their gratitude for services that have been provided by Coordinated Youth Initiative (CYI) staff, including school nurses, nurse practitioners, CHILL counselors and Healthy School Team leaders.

Here are a few:

  • Nurse practitioner Jan Carlson, at the Winter Park High School Student Health Center, helped get quick medical care for a student who showed up with high blood pressure and other serious symptoms that turned out to be Exertional Rhabdomyolisis. He was, according to his mother, near kidney failure. After he returned to school, Ms. Carlson monitored his blood pressure and made sure he was consuming enough liquid. “It is great to have her there and to know that if there is an emergent situation, she is their first line of defense,” the parent said.
  • Another parent of two young children at Lakemont Elementary School praised their CHILL counselor, Jessica Kalata, for supporting the children and the rest of the family as they cope with their mother’s fight with cancer. “She has helped them process their mom’s illness and has helped us as a family talk about how we deal with Mommy being sick,” said the parent.
  • Swimming lessons for Lakemont Elementary students, supported with Healthy School Team funding and held at the Winter Park YMCA, also received praise. “I was fortunate to observe the patience and encouragement offered to the kids by Mr. Siegel (Healthy School Team leader) and Ms. Zaineraitis (the swim instructor). “They went above and beyond the call of duty with several children making what can be a very scary experience, memorable and enjoyable,” said the parent. “The improvement in Jaclyn’s swimming has been tremendous. She now swims with her face in the water and credits the lessons she received through your program.” According to Mr. Siegel, “the Foundation’s support has helped students who would never have learned to swim without the program.”
  • A fitness and nutrition boot camp sponsored by Healthy School Team Leaders at the Winter Park 9th Grade Center, called Get Fit Wildcats, drew compliments from participants in and out of school. The program was open to anyone. “I participated in the Get Fit Boot Camp program at the WPHS 9th Grade Center for three months,” said one of the teachers, “(and) I’m running, jumping, and feeling so much better about myself. You’ve made getting fit a possibility for a person on a teacher’s salary.” One Winter Park resident participated with her 38-year-old daughter and her 12-year-old grand daughter and said “we all grew through this experience,” strengthening bodies and relationships.

Parents of all students have the chance to provide feedback and additional comments in the annual CYI survey included in the recently published Healthy Kids Today newsletter and posted on the Healthy Kids Today website at

Results of the survey will be presented later in the year.