December Healthy Hero: Jen Venz

December Healthy Hero: Jen Venz
Posted on 12/17/2019
Jen Venz and family.      Congratulations to Jen Venz, Farmington Elementary School Counselor, on being chosen as the December 2019 Healthy Hero! Last spring, during the Franks for Fathers event that FES holds, Venz asked some high school students to partner with some of the elementary students. When she saw their interactions, it sparked the idea for a longer-term partnership. For four weeks, high school students showed up before school to play basketball with elementary students. They focused on sportsmanship and just having fun. Both the younger and the older students enjoyed it. One high school student was quoted as saying, “This is the absolute best way to start my day!”
     More than just a fun game of basketball, Venz saw the kids connecting on a deeper level. “They were building a sense of community,” she said. 
     Venz also organized a “purposeful play” program between FES kindergarteners and Boeckman Middle Schools 8th graders. These students met eight times in the fall and will come back together in the spring. This program allowed eighth graders to mentor with a concentration on helping kids understand their emotions and build teamwork skills.  
     Venz feels that many children grow up lacking the skills of compromise and conflict resolution that they once learned through neighborhood play. She has researched the benefits of increased playtime for young learners and is creating opportunities that fulfill a need among our students. Venz is a true healthy hero because of her commitment to supporting our students’ social-emotional health. 

     Farmington Area Public Schools Healthy Heroes are members of our school community who have made positive changes to enhance wellness in their lives or the lives of others. They are selected from nominations submitted to our Farmington Area Public Schools Wellness Committee. For more information about the wellness committee please visit our website. 
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