WICHITA – Wesley Medical Center has again donated more than $29,000 to the Kansas Learning Center For Health’s “You, Your Body and Puberty” education program, providing Wichita Public School fifth-graders the opportunity to take a field trip to KLCH in Halstead, Kan., to learn about puberty.
Over the last four years, Wesley has donated more than $100,000 to provide the education to more than 13,000 students.
“We are excited to be celebrating our fourth year of partnership with Wesley on this important program,” said Brenda Sooter, KLCH executive director. “We are so grateful to have the continued support in delivering effective children’s health and education to area fifth-graders.”
School budget cuts led KLCH to approach Wesley three years ago about the lack of funding for initiatives such as the puberty program. School officials were concerned about the program’s future, which provides early health education. This year’s donation helped provide field trips for 3,700 fifth-graders.
“This is an outstanding program for students and our community,” said Hugh Tappan, Wesley’s president and CEO. “As a regional leader in caring for the health of children, we want to ensure this partnership continues so our kids will have every opportunity to better prepare for a challenging phase of life and set a good standard of health at an early age.”
The partnership between Wesley, Wichita Public Schools and the Kansas Learning Center meets two important objectives: increasing access to health education program for socio-economic disadvantaged children and assisting with addressing youth health issues.
“We are so thankful for the continued support of this program from Wesley,” said John Allison, Wichita Public Schools superintendent. “Early and accurate health education can greatly impact a child’s future quality of life. The children in our community need to know that, and Wesley is helping to make sure they do.”
The “You, Your Body and Puberty” program is presented by health instructors and highlights the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle by including proper nutrition, exercise and being involved in community-related activities, along with the introduction of the male and female reproductive system. Boys and girls are separated to make them more comfortable asking questions. The highlight for most students is “Valeda,” the transparent mannequin, which lights up various organs inside the body and explains how they all work together.
Puberty refers to the process of physical changes by which a child becomes an adult. This is a period in which the personality in terms of culture and health is shaped, and maturity in social, physical and psychological aspects of life occur.
While KLCH’s program is not a human sexuality class, the program educates students on the physical and emotional changes that occur during puberty. The presentation ensures every fifth-grader receives the same factual information from a reliable source. The center conducts student pre- and post-tests for all of its fifth-grade puberty field trips and found that out of the 27 Wichita public schools that did a field trip last year, the students had a significant increase of puberty knowledge after going on the field trip.
“We know that children are exposed to information about sex and relationships from the TV and Internet,” Sooter said. “Our program addresses the facts about puberty in a non-threatening way and delivers accurate, reliable information about a sensitive topic.”
KLCH offers field trips and outreach programs on a variety of health education topics for children ages preschool through college. Please visit www.learningcenter.org for more information about its programs and services.
For more information about Wesley Medical Center, please visit www.wesleymc.com.
Wesley Medical Center is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care, Wesley treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER and Galichia ER. Wesley owns and operates Galichia Heart Hospital, WESLEYCare Clinics and the Pediatric Center of Kansas. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please visit www.wesleymc.com.
The Kansas Learning Center for Health is a non-profit health education museum located in Halstead, Kan. The museum features “Valeda,” the transparent, talking, life-size mannequin, along with hands-on exhibits depicting health function and care of the human body. “Education for a Healthy Life” is the primary goal of the center since its inception in 1965. To learn more about The Kansas Learning Center for Health, please visit www.learningcenter.org.