Fair Haven School Nurses ‘Go Red’ for Heart Health

February 28, 2014
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Knollwoodstaff-WHHD_104612FAIR HAVEN –Valentine’s Day provides many with the opportunity to “wear their hearts on their sleeves.”

Nora Navarro of Viola L. Sickles School and Judy Miller of Knollwood School ensured that the traditional wearing of red had a deeper meaning at their schools. Both school nurses designated Feb. 14 as the day to wear red in support of heart health for women.

Navarro and Miller have dedicated themselves to carrying on a heart-healthy tradition begun years ago by both of their predecessors.

“Go Red for Women” is an awareness program that was begun by the American Heart Association in response to the fact that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in America. “Go Red for Women” can be held on any day during the month of February, designated as American Heart Month by the AHA.

Encouraging the administrators and teachers at their schools to wear red on Feb. 14 was the most visible sign of the nurses’ commitment, but it actually goes deeper than that.

For her part, Navarro provided a heart-healthy breakfast for Sickles School Principal Susan Alston and for the teaching staff. With contributions of healthy food from her coworkers, she set out a tantalizing array of healthy options such as fresh fruit, granola bars, and nuts.

Navarro also demonstrated the use of her juicing machine using healthy and fresh ingredients such as kale, almonds, apples, ginger, and almonds. She whipped up samples of a smoothie drink that the assembled Sickles staff members and Principal Alston unanimously described as “surprisingly delicious.”

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“This is how I get my daughter to eat her fruits and vegetables,” said Navarro, who is in her first year as the nurse at Sickles School.

Sickles staff members were also provided with handouts including tips for maintaining heart health – such as not smoking, getting exercise, and eating nonprocessed fresh foods – plus a helpful list of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack in women.

“This is an important piece of literature, because the signs for women are much different than the signs for men,” explained Navarro, whose heart-health promoting predecessor is retired Sickles School Nurse Barbara Grimmer.

Wearing red was the order of the day as well at Knollwood School, where school nurse Judy Miller was once again carrying on the heart health tradition begun by her predecessor Gail Thompson.

Doing her part for heart health, Miller collected donations for the American Heart Association from Knollwood staff members and also provided heart health handouts. Those making donations received red pins, which they displayed throughout the day along with their colorful red attire.

“I am very happy to once again promote heart health and collect donations for the American Heart Association,” said Miller. “I also want to thank my colleagues for always providing such terrific support for this important cause.”

For the past 50 years, the American Heart Association has carried on the mission of building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Donations made to the American Heart Association help to save lives through research, education, and emergency care.

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Viola L. Sickles School is a pre-K through third-grade school. Knollwood School is located on Hance Road and is comprised of grades 4 – 8.

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