Morning Star School Enhancements Designed to Boost Student Health

Mary r clinicMary Rumberger’s love for the Morning Star School has inspired a variety of campus additions—ranging from a health clinic and installation of a demonstration kitchen to renovations providing dedicated fitness space and the design of edible gardens. All are focused on helping the school’s special needs students lead healthy, happy lives.

A longtime Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) Trustee, Ms. Rumberger had a passion and concern for the well-being of children and channeled much of it into her volunteer service as a long-standing member and president of the Morning Star Auxiliary. When she passed away last year, the WPHF decided to honor her legacy by awarding a grant to the school for a variety of health enhancements. Others have joined in and to date approximately $40,000 has been raised.

The first addition was a health clinic–the Mary Rumberger Healthy Kids Clinic–which was dedicated by Mary’s family, friends, community leaders and WPHF trustees last spring.

Since then, a registered nurse—Brother Randall—has been hired for the clinic. His work will be critical to keeping several students at the school, explained Sarah Stack, a WPHF Consultant working on the project. For example, several students need one-on-one assistance at meal time because they aren’t able to eat on their own which Brother Randall will be able to provide. He also will be able to treat everything from headaches to more severe ailments.

Renovation of a fitness area is underway, and has included the addition of padded flooring and newly painted walls. Exercise equipment, donated by Planet Fitness, has been delivered. The full renovation of the room—including a new demonstration kitchen—is expected to be completed by the summer of 2015.

Healthy changes are underway outdoors as well, according to Ms. Stack. Plans are underway to establish an edible in-ground garden featuring vegetables, fruits and herbs. There are plans to include plants with unique textures and good smells to engage students’ senses.  An example is the pineapple sage plant which smells like pineapples and has leaves that are soft, fuzzy and fun to touch.

Produce and herbs from the garden will serve the demonstration kitchen needs and provide education and hands-on job skills training to Morning Star students.