Nicky Taggart

Onehunga High School was very fortunate to have eight students complete the Steps for Life Programme and from what I have seen it has truly changed the lives of these students. I have been involved with the programme as the student’s support person at school. I have seen two key factors involved with the success of the programme – the inspiration and motivation that they receive from Monty is huge.

Monty puts a huge amount of time and effort into this programme because he really wants to make a difference in their lives - the students are in awe of him, they really want to please him and realize what a privilege it is to be in the programme. The other factor is the huge amount of knowledge they gain in twelve weeks – nutritional values of food, reading food labels, portion sizes and sticking to a calorie budget, healthy eating, healthy lifestyles and exercise; and the ability to put that knowledge into practice and change lifetime habits.

They are all role models in their families and amongst their peers at school. They have made healthy eating and exercise the “norm” amongst their peers. They have motivated their friends to want to do the programme. The school runs a Zumba session for all students two mornings per week before school.

Four of the Steps for Life students are now being the instructors for Zumba – they feel fit and look great and have a huge amount of confidence to stand up in front of other students and lead exercise sessions.

These healthy lifestyle changes have been maintained since the students completed the programme – they are all continuing to eat healthy food and exercise daily, and consequently are still losing weight. It is often thought that young people aren’t interested in healthy eating and exercise – this programme shows that young people are committed to make healthy lifestyle changes given the right motivation and knowledge. Having seen the huge amount of self esteem, confidence and improvement in health these students have gained from the programme I would love to see it more widely available.

Nicky Taggart - School Nurse