A Hero for Healthy Schools: Barri Valkner

May 11, 2011

Last month, HSC teamed up with Chicago Public Schools and the Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to present Heroes for Healthy Schools, a series to focus attention on the role everyone can play in ensuring that all children are able to succeed in school and live healthy lives. We invited our readers across the country to nominate individuals they see making a difference for kids’ health at school and in the community. Today we are happy to spotlight one of the many Heroes for Healthy Schools you wrote to tell us about!

Barri-Valkner-photo 
Barri after a Girls on the Run session.

“I would like to nominate Barri Valkner as my Hero for Healthy Schools.

Barri is a parent at Edison Park Elementary School, a CPS public school serving PreK-8th grade.  She has a son at school there and a daughter who will join him there.

Barri has organized and operated a fantastic “Girls on the Run” program for EPE, which also includes the older girls as coaches and mentors for the GOTR girls.  She is chair of our PTA wellness committee and has led “Family Fit Nights” at our school the past two years, as well as a Walkathon Fundraiser the past two years.  The walkathons raised more than $10,000 each, which we have used to purchase new sports and playground equipment for the school. 
 
Barri and her two friends operate “Boot Camp” classes two nights a week at EPE for teachers and one for parents and anyone in the community who would like to join in! They also hold classes two additional nights at the nearby Catholic school.  

She is a tireless advocate for healthy habits and wellness at our school.  We just wrapped up our March Wellness Month, which included activities coordinated with the physical education department, such as a “body walk” lesson about the human body in the gym and an upcoming wellness concert on April 8. 
 
Edison Park is a wonderfully healthy school with stellar examples among the staff and administration, as well as the parents.  We are all active and committed to healthy children and healthy families.  

Barri sets an amazing example for students, parents and staff at EPE.  I'm honored to nominate her and hope you will honor her as a Hero at our Healthy School.”

– Ginnie Flynn

Kudos to Barri Valkner for all of her hard work in making her school a healthier and happier place to be in!

Plus! To read about more individuals who are making a difference for school wellness, check out the Heroes for Healthy Schools section of HSC's blog